4th August 2020
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Customs officers call for resignation of their boss

Authors: Alhadi Hawari | Emmanuel Akile | Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Maj.-Gen. Ayii Akol at his office in Nimule. He is accused of nepotism and embezzlement of taxpayers’ money | Credit | Courtesy

Some officers working at various border points in South Sudan are calling for the resignation of the Director-General of Custom Services over corruption allegations.

About 36 customs service officers have accused Maj.-Gen. Ayii Akol of mismanagement and embezzlement of non-oil revenues.

They told Eye Radio that Maj.-Gen. Akol swindles taxes generated from the border points into his private account, an allegation Ayii denies.

Some claim the Director has privatized at least 18 new vehicles and shown favoritism towards those related to him.

They say this is because Maj.-Gen. Ayii Akol has transferred 29 customs officers to the police headquarters in Buluk, Juba.

The officers, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions, also accuse Maj.-Gen. Akol of illegally granting tax exempts to some traders.

Their complaints were similar to the recent finding of an Economic Cluster subcommittee that said taxes were being diverted into individual accounts.

President Salva Kiir also mentioned in his Independence Day speech that non-oil revenues are not being fully remitted into the single block account of the National Revenue Authority.

He stated that when collected and well managed, the non-oil revenues should be able to meet the government’s expenditure.

“The Director-General of Customs always calls me to say, ‘There are trucks carrying alcohol and cigarettes and other stuffs coming to the border, do not tax them. Refer them to Juba for taxation’,” J John (not real name) told Eye Radio.

Tax exempts apply to humanitarian items such as food trucks and vehicles.

“But the Director-General always asks me to leave those vehicles and the commodities, but I refused, I said I can’t do that,” he added.

Some of the employees say their boss awards himself over 1.5 million pounds as monthly salary.

“This man receives 1,622,740 pounds as monthly salary. What kind of corruption is this?” Asked another junior officer.

Resignation

Some custom service officers are now calling for the sacking of Maj.-Gen. Akol to improve revenue collection.

“We want this Director-General to resign or be relieved from his position and investigation should take place,” protested David.

“The amount of money he has been taking from the country should also be retrieved. This is looting.”

When contacted by Eye Radio recently, the Director-General of Custom service, General Ayii Akol trashed all the allegations.

He instead said he is reforming the Custom services.

The non-oil revenues are by law wired into the account of the National Revenue Authority.

The firing of the former NRA commissioner general in 2019 angered some members of the public. He was seen as a pro-financial accountability and transparency.

Upon assuming office, his successor immediately stopped announcement of monthly collections, raising eyebrows.

A month or so later, an investigative report by Eye Radio showed that there had been suspicious transfers of taxpayers’ money.

A recent report by an Anti-Corruption Resource Center identified the main types of corruption in South Sudan as bureaucratic corruption, patronage, political corruption, and embezzlement.

Similar reports also indicate that South Sudan’s elites have developed a kleptocratic system that controls every part of the South Sudanese economy.

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