15th October 2019
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Corruption & profiteering still a “threat to peace” -Enough Project

Author: Rosemary Wilfred | Published: 7 months ago

File: South Sudanese demonstrate in Juba after the naming of the "75 corrupt officials" by the President in 2013.

A new report by the US-based Think Tank – the Enough Project says the peace agreement in South Sudan faces what it describes as “serious threats from a deep-rooted system of corruption and profiteering.

The report, titled “Safeguards to Peace,” identifies six “severe gaps” in the country’s economic governance it says are currently obstructing lasting peace in the country.

It cites endemic corruption, lack of accountability and transparency in the economy, weak government institutions that fail to provide basic services, elite control of state resources and an economy that it says has been twisted to benefit political leaders.

Other deficits in South Sudan’s economic governance the report mentioned include political centralization, economic underdevelopment – including insufficient infrastructure, the absence of justice for corruption and disregard for community involvement.

The report author and Investigative Analyst at The Sentry, Mark Ferullo, said: “the corrupt system in South Sudan will not crumble overnight, but the peace agreement provides a rare opening to pursue powerful anti-corruption reforms that can begin to dismantle the kleptocracy.”

While Brian Adeba – the Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, added that “A South Sudan that is prosperous and at peace with itself is not a far-fetched dream – saying it is doable and within reach.

Adeba went on to say that “South Sudan’s politicians need to finally commit to strong accountability measures that will propel the country forward and liberate it from the violent looting machines.”

For his part, John Prendergast – the Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “The battle over the spoils of corruption by South Sudan’s political leaders has repeatedly inflicted senseless suffering on the people of South Sudan.

He said, “those making fortunes from the suffering of millions of South Sudanese must face accountability, or the cycles of war will continue.”

The report recommends 10 steps to incorporate financial safeguards and economic oversight into the peace agreement.

These include installing a Technical Advisory Body at the Central Bank, appointing an AU Transparency Envoy for South Sudan, starting an Independent National Audit and establishing an International Commission against Impunity.

The report argues that when combined with financial pressures, including targeted network sanctions and anti-money laundering enforcement, these recommendations should begin to dismantle what it calls “violent kleptocracy” and also support economic governance reforms that can help to prevent a return to war.

Commenting on the report, Political Analyst Dr. James Okuk describes the assessment as fair.

“What makes me really optimistic about this report is their concentration is on chapter 4; because chapter 4 is the real future of this agreement,” he said.

“It is where serious reforms in the economy, serious transparency, serious accountability, and serious anti-corruption measures will take place, it is not in chapter 1 or any chapter, it is chapter 4.

Dr. Okuk said if the remedies suggested in the report are implemented, they could undo corruption and minimize the kleptocracy the Enough Project has cited in its recent reports….

The US-based Enough Project conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit.

“The conflict is all over because of competition over these resources that we have in South Sudan -especially in the oil and mine sector. And if you go also in the revenue sector, a lot of conflicts take place, and this is where heavyweights influence takes place,” Okuk concluded.

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