Exclusive: Bribery emerges as former oil minister eludes justice

Former petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth (right), President Salva kiir (left). Photo: File

Juba, July 28, 2019 (SSNA) — Many government officials are being bribed by former petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth to prevent anyone from facing justice after the government accused him of massive corruption, a senior government official told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

The official, who agreed to speak to the SSNA on condition of anonymity explains that the bribery campaign started just two weeks after Ezekiel Lol was removed from his position. The source reveals that Ezekiel is winning the game because three other senior officials at the ministry are also suspected of corruption.

“After he was fired, he enlisted his former close friends who are also corrupt. I am sorry but I am to say this. These officials are two Jieng and one Equotaria man. I know all of them,” the official explains, adding, “One Jieng man is too close to President Salva Kiir. My instinct tells me that this Bahr el Ghazal orchestrating the bribery campaign.”

Bahr el Ghazal is a region where the president hails from.

A South Sudanese legal analyst blasted the government over what he described as “selective justice.” His analysis seems to support what millions of South Sudanese expressed.

“How many people were headed the oil miter before Ezekiel?” he asked.

“They accused none of them of any crime. This is pure selective justice,” he explains. “This is like if you are not a Jieng and you corrupted then you will face justice but if you are a Jieng then you are free to do whatever you want,” the visibly furious analyst complains.

Ezekiel Lol was dismissed from his position last month. The president then formed a committee to investigate his ministry and report the finding to him in two weeks. The two-week time frame appears to have passed without any finding.

The same legal analyst seems to have an explanation for the elapsed time.

“Juba is the world capital of corruption. If you have money then you are set for anything as long as you don’t challenge the president,” he states.

The South Sudan News Agency was also told that the petroleum ministry is being run like President Kiir’s property. The analyst explains that many important ministries including finance are run by a few people within the office of the President.

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