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Kiir orders investigation into oil pre-sale deals

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Kiir wants to know the number of pre-sale agreements; past and present.

President Salva Kiir has formed a committee to investigate the mechanism used in the pre-sale of South Sudan’s oil over the past few months.

The body is told to thoroughly investigate the pre-sale process, payment, taxes paid and details of oil companies involved in the oil production and sale.

The 7 member committee is headed by the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, and deputized by Martin Otoromoi, the Deputy Minister of Justice.

It is to also to ascertain the number of pre-sale agreements and companies allocated crude oil on that basis.

“The committee will investigate the mechanism that was used -on how the ministry of oil [petroleum] arrived -at allocating crude oil and also to ascertain the number of pre-sale agreements past and present,” said Ateny Wek Ateny, Press Secretary in the Office of the President.

The Petroleum Act expects the Ministry of Petroleum to publish annual production data, volumes sold, as well as revenues and other information related to the sector.

But members of the national parliament have previously complaint that no records about oil revenues have been made available for the public.

Ateny told Eye Radio, Wednesday, that the work of the committee begun on Tuesday night -after the issuance of the republican decree.

“The committee will get details of the companies allocated South Sudan crude oil on basis of pre-sale and also to investigate the pre-sale process optic sale payment and taxes thereof,” Ateny added.

The order directed the committee to work with the Auditor General to also audit pre-sale practices in the oil sector.

The last public audit announced by the government was in 2017, when the Ministry of Petroleum invited private companies to summit tenders to audit the year’s activities in the petroleum sector -as a way of enhancing efficiency and transparency.

The audit included completing an accurate assessment of oil and gas reserves and production, and reporting on revenue and investment flows.

The findings were not made public.

Two weeks ago, President Salva Kiir relieved the Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth as the Minister of Petroleum, and appointed Engineer Daniel Awou Chuong as his replacement.

During Mr. Awuo’s swearing in, Kiir warned the new minister against taking oil advances before the actual sale of South Sudan’s crude oil to the international market.

Kiir said the government should only receive money that is generated from the oil sale and not loans.

“…if our oil is a month away from being sold, let us not get anybody’s money,” Kiir said.

Mr. Awuo said he will ensure there is accountability in the sale of crude oil.

Read related story: https://eyeradio.org/kiir-advises-against-crude-oil-advances/

It is not clear whether the President -over the past months -noticed malpractices during the pre-sale or awarding of oil contracts.

Other members of the investigation committee include; Abdon Agou, the Secretary General of the government, Garang Majak Bol, the first undersecretary in Ministry of Finance, Mayen Wol, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and a representative from the National Security Service.

The committee is to report back to the President within 14 working days.

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