February 11, 2012 (SSNA) — On behalf of the South Sudanese citizens, the leadership of South Sudan, and on my own behalf, I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the sons and daughters of this new born nation, and congratulate them all for a job well done in ensuring our independence as a new nation. I would also extend my warm appreciation to the leadership of our president, Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit for leading us through the hardships and delivering us to our new country. My appearance today before you all is in the sole interest of all citizens of this country, the Republic of South Sudan to whom I remain loyal.
As you all know, I was the first minister of Finance and Economic Planning for the Government of South Sudan, a position I held through the era of struggle, up until 2007, when I was removed from office, due to false allegations of corruption that were made against me. Today marks my first public appearance in reference to this matter, as I have never spoken out since my removal from office. The reason why I have never publicly stood up and countered the allegations, was for reasons of patriotism. I did not want to spoil the process that was leading us, as the people known as the “Southern Sudanese”, to the independence of South Sudan, and the subsequent declaration of the Republic of South Sudan as a united nation.
I was accused recently in the newspapers, and by some Parliamentarians of not going to Parliament to answer questions about the irregularities in the 2006 report produced by the Auditor General. The reason why I was not present at that meeting was because I was told that my presence was not required, as I had already written and submitted a report to the Public Accounts Committee.
As I have noted, there have been constant attempts being made by some few individuals within the current governing body to discredit and defame me as a significant figure amongst the founding members of this nation. These accusations all range from my time in office after the signing of the CPA and the formation of the Government of National Unity, and continue to this date.
It is unfortunate that I have now been pushed to the point where it is necessary for me to stand up and take this opportunity to list out some, if only a few, of the transgressions made by a few against the Public interest of the People of South Sudan, for, as I mentioned earlier, time and circumstance had now allowed me to speak out, and let the whole country know how public funds were, and are being mishandled and misused.
1. In 2006, I was accused of misusing and stealing public funds. This was propagated by some few individuals within the government that led to a caucus sitting of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) as an intervention. The latter, in response to this matter, resolved with their own clear findingsm that transparency and accountability had existed within what was then, my Ministry.
In my own opinion, this was the beginning of my downfall. The government of the period of 2005-06, had a great influx of cash, and I being the Minister of Finance at that time, had strict operative values, that could not allow public money to be rotating anyhow amongst corrupt individuals. This was the beginning of my accusations, by a manipulation of opinion, both Government and Public, and used as a way for me to be removed from office, in order to allow a certain few unscrupulous and corrupt individuals within the governing system, easy access to public money, without the fear of question by me.
2. In the same year of 2006, I was again accused on matters regarding a grant of $ 60, 000, 000 (Sixty million US dollars) given to GOSS/SPLM by the president of Sudan, Omar el Bashir. These accusations were made by the SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, and Luka Biong, the treasurer of the SPLM, stating that I had stolen the above figures but clearly, this amount was paid to the account of GOSS in the Bank of Sudan with Issac Makur and Silvano Jal Malith as signatories to the account. My involvement in this could be in reference to the approvals I made, having been given instructions from above, which led to the expenditure of $30, 000,000, of which I hold copies of the originals, of all documents of the above expenditures, and can fully account for them. The other $30,000,000 was placed in the hands of SPLM SG, Pagan Amum, as it was paid by the Ministry of Finance directly into his account as once again I had been instructed from above. That transfer was done on 22 December 2006 and I believe that he, Pagan Amum is the one who should account, and he can clearly tell the public how he spent those funds, as I am not accountable for his expenditures.
3. Leading to my removal as the Minister of Finance, I was accused of purchasing vehicles from the Cardinal Company at a price twice the actual amount. These vehicles were purchased following the written instructions from the Vice President of GOSS, Dr. Riak Machar Teny, that I should purchase the vehicles from Cardinal Company for various Ministries. In turn, I directed the undersecretary of Finance to proceed with the transaction, after involving the Procurement Department in accordance with the proper procurement procedures that were to be followed in my absence due to my visit to Malaysia and Singapore on official business for the Government of Southern Sudan. Despite all my precautions and procedures that I put in place to be followed, I was then held responsible for these purchases, while my directives to the undersecretary clearly indicated procurement procedures had to be followed in accordance with the laid down procedures. As a result, I was removed from my office and my duties as Minister of Finance were abruptly terminated, and immediately thereafter, I was accused and arrested for corruption. I was later investigated and tried, but there was no evidence of wrong doing, and the case was dismissed by the province Judge Malek Mathiang in Juba on the 30th September 2009.
This has all led up to this, which I hope is the final accusation, and which is the driving factor of holding this press conference today, so that you, the members of the Press are fully briefed and can inform the public at large that there are more facts to this accusation that have never been spoken about or disclosed. These accusations have been directly made by an individual who has turned to the media to show grievances of his dismissal as the Governor of Bank of South Sudan. For instance, I was tasked by the Auditor General to explain why there was a discrepancy of US$ 7 million between the amount transferred out to the account in Geneva and the amount returned to the account of GOSS in the Central Bank of Khartoum? I replied that the Central Bank of Khartoum should be the ones to account for that as they were the agents of the transactions.
In conclusion, however, I do acknowledge and commend the Auditor General for having tabled the audit reports for the year 2005-2006 before the national assembly, however, I do not believe that there was sufficient attention given to the discovery of the true facts and I am of the opinion that the Auditor General should instruct his auditors to do a full audit and discovery on the National Bank, and I am sure if they do this in a diligent and professional manner, they will find the missing links, as they are there, but not yet discovered. In light of the current oil crisis, and the austerity measures proposed to be undertaken by the Government of South Sudan, I strongly recommend that proper investigations be carried out to determine actual truths to the matter at hand.
These false allegations that have been made against me, have caused me and my family to endure a great amount of personal suffering, public suspicion and abuse, and is widely reported on the internet that I have stolen money from the Government of Southern Sudan. This is a personal attack against my integrity, and indirectly reflects on the integrity of my family, who have suffered in silence, while protesting my innocence. I let it be known, that for the sake of this Nation, and from the time I was appointed as the guardian of the Nations finances, I guarded them well, and I thank the late Dr John Garang Mabior and his Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit for having entrusted me with the guardianship of the Nations finances up to the CPA in 2005 and beyond, up to my removal from office in 2007. I take this opportunity to inform you, the members of the Press, the people of South Sudan, and the International community, that I am not afraid of the Court, and will welcome a full and thorough investigation, conducted with full transparency, that will disclose the full facts and truth behind the discrepancies and missing funds, and I can assure you that I will once again be exonerated, but this time the true corrupt individuals will be exposed by a proper investigation of the facts. This Nation must stand proud. We fought a war and won it. We had our referendum and won it 98% and won, and with that we won our Independence. We must now fight and win our financial war, both here at home and with Khartoum.
Corruption should not be condoned, and that is in accordance with the wishes of his Excellency the President.