An open letter to H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit

Finance Minister Salvatore Garang Mabior. Photo: File

Sub: Appeal for the removal of Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, the minister for finance and economic planning

By Ayok Thon Akoon

May 18, 2019 (SSNA) — Your Excellency, I would like to express my maximum appreciation to you and your leadership for bringing sustainable and lasting peace to the people of South Sudan through the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. The Revitalized Peace Agreement which you have signed last year has restored the lost hope among the desperate South Sudanese. We the citizens of South Sudan do also commend your endless efforts and struggle towards economic recovery. Our Country’s economy would have improved a long time ago if the austerity prevention measures which you recently initiated were successfully implemented by the minister of Finance and economic planning.

Your Excellency, I am writing this open letter to enlighten you about the corrupt policies of the finance minister Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabior. The diversion of public funds to a one man ‘s pocket and the turning of a national ministry into a clan business entity have compelled me to write this open letter. These corrupt policies of the minister of finance Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabior has convinced me to believe in your words of saying that you had got people who know to eat but not people who know how to work. Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabior is one of the people who only know how to steal public money. The following are the visible and undeniable evidence which indicate that Salvatore Garang has corrupted the whole ministry of finance.

Failure to implement his promise of recovering economy

It could be remembered that Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit promised to improve the economy in six months during the time of his swearing-in at the state house J1. His appointment as a minister of finance and economic planning was considered as your last attempt to recover the economy but it later turned out to be the last attempt to worsen the economic crisis. Upon taking the oath of office, Salvatore Garang forgot about his promise of ending the economic crisis and he embarked on diverting the little remaining money in the Central Bank. The hard currency rose against our local currency because of his decision to divert the remaining hard currency to the black markets. The economic crisis has worsened and it is still worsening under his administration compared to the administration of the former minister Hon. Stephen Dhieu.

Division of ministry’s staff on the basis of relationship and friendship

The minister of finance and economic planning has neglected the legal procedures of financial transactions and adopted a predilection system. For example, the offer of contracts is referred to his office management team and close bodyguards before approval without forwarding them to the concerned officials in the ministry. The office of the minister is believed to be the only powerful office in the ministry of finance and economic planning because many concerned directorates are neglected in the decision-making process.

The repayment of already paid debts

Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has introduced a repayment policy especially to his close loyalists  whose debts were already paid by the former ministers., For example, the repayment of Wau airport construction arrears to a contractor who was already paid long time ago by the previous minister symbolizes that there was a secret agreement between Salvatore Garang Mabiordit and his blood relative, the contractor. The repayment of Wau Airport Construction arrears was done on the agreement of “half budget allocation” to the account of Salvation Garang Mabiordit by the contractor.

The culture of bribery policy in the payment transactions

The ministry of finance and economic planning particularly the office of the minister has assigned some officials who act as a middleman in payment of credits, the minister relatives especially office management team and close protection personnel are the one engaging in this illegal process. Any business creditor who wants check in the ministry must first bribe the middlemen and close bodyguards of Salvatore Garang with an average of 30 % to 40% of the cheque. His private secretary has turned into a millionaire through this illegal deal. The private secretary has recently bought a new V8 Prado in a period of less than 1 year. The purchase of a new model V8 by Salvatore’s private secretary sends a signal of rampant broad daylight corruption in the ministry of finance and economic planning.

The use of a covering letter in financial transaction

Hon Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has illegally abandoned legal administrative channels of performing ministry’s activities and adapted the use of what we called “covering letter” in financial transactions. This resulted in an administrative dispute between him and the senior directors at the ministry. On 28th November 2018, Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit issued a cheque of 18 million dollars and directed the central bank of South Sudan to transfer the said amount of money to the account of Lou Company without the knowledge of Director for an account in the ministry. After realizing that Hon Salvatore Garang had directed the central bank to transfer 18 million dollars to the account of Lou Company Ltd, the director for accounts Mr. Aguek Deng who was by then unaware of the details of payment transactions to Lou Company LTD immediately questioned the minister about the legality of the transaction. The minister got annoyed and responded to the director’s question by dismissing him from the office on 21st Dec 2018. He further withdrew the powers of the director for accounts as well as the transaction documents and transferred them to the system controller whom he considers as his loyalist at the ministry. Many directors at the ministry of finance and economic planning are totally confused and unaware of what is happening after Salvatore Garang has withdrawn their constitutional powers from them. The minister also withdrew the valuable transaction documents from the offices of the concerned directors and transferred them to his office.

Unconstitutional dismissal and replacement of the Ministry’s senior staff with his friends and family

Your Excellency, the unconstitutional dismissal and replacement of senior directors as well as the staff in the ministry of finance by Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit violates the South Sudan Civil Servant Act. He has employed many of his close relatives in the ministry without following legal procedures of employment as prescribed by South Sudan Civil Servant Act. He has grasped the powers of Human Resource Director in the ministry which has culminated into the tension between them. To worsen the tension, Salvatore Garang dismissed many directors and senior officials from the ministry without good reasons. The best example is the dismissal of the director for an account and the final withdrawal of the transaction documents from the Directorate of account to the system controller who is his close loyalist. The tension between him and some staff compelled him to falsely accuse them of assassinating him. He recently increased the number of his bodyguards which is against your last year order of ” one bodyguard for every national minister”

Favoring certain business persons among the South Sudanese business Community in term of debt payment transactions

Your Excellency, the minister of finance and economic planning has totally failed to observe and maintain equality and fairness in handling the affairs of the business community.   His failure to treat the business persons equally led to public outcry about how he and his office management team are handling the affairs of the business persons at the ministry. He is favoring and cooperating with three businessmen, of which, one of them is his close relative, the other one is just longtime friend and the third one is his cousin. This has created suspicion and mistrust between goods suppliers and the ministry. In addition to that, Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has chosen one businessman who is his close relative to act as a middleman or dealer between him and business people in regard to clearance of the debts to creditors. Salvatore Garang’s policy of favoring three businessmen has tarnished the ministry’s image since cooperating with one to three people with an interest in gaining profit is unconstitutional.

Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has enriched himself with the public resources

Your Excellency, on 4th March 2019, Salvatore Garang Mabiordit approved a sum of 300,000 dollars for his daughter wedding in Kuajok. He recently purchased more than six luxurious houses in Juba, apart from the concrete buildings that are under construction. He has also bought several business companies e.g. he owns an aviation company which is currently operating in South Sudan. He had also bought many hotels in Juba and he is in price negotiation with the owner of James Hotel with the intention of buying it. He is a shareholder in many multi-business companies. For example, he is a shareholder in Lou Company Limited. His children are moving with new model V6 and V8 Prado vehicles compared to the period that their father has spent in the office as a minister of finance and economic planning.

Diversion of public medical assistant funds to the sons and daughters of his community

Your Excellency, the minister of finance and economic planning Salvatore Garang has illegally diverted the medical assistance funds meant for the government officials to his relatives, friends and community members. Salvatore has been busy allocating medical refers and assistance to his community members. In addition to that, the deputy mayor of Juba City Council His Worship Thiik Thiik Mayardit raised a concern about the allocation of 10% in the budget of the finance ministry to Kuac community. The allocation of 10% to one single clan caused suspicious among the communities, why one community should take such a lion share in the national budget

In conclusion, the minister of finance and economic planning Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit is deadwood in the ministry.  It is useless to maintain such a useless human being in the government.  He is attracting more enemies than friends to your government and for this reason; I am requesting you to fire him from your cabinet within a short period of time.

The writer of the above open letter is a Senior Economist Analyst. He can be reached via Email: [email protected].

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