3rd April 2020
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Officials should declare assets before taking up positions – UN

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Thursday, March 12, 2020

A weekly session of the former Council of Ministers in Juba. Majority of ministers are reportedly running personal businesses in the country| Credit | File photo

The UN Human Rights Commission for South Sudan has recommended that all senior officials make written declarations regarding their assets prior to taking up government posts.

This comes as the South Sudanese are expecting a new cabinet and national legislation to be announced by the President.

The revitalized peace agreement, required leaders and stakeholders to ensure that the R-TGoNU is transparent and accountable.

The chapter 4 of the agreement stipulates that any leader found to have condoned or engaged in corrupt practices shall be held accountable and barred from holding public office in according with the agreement and the law.

It also states that the government shall develop a code of ethics and integrity for public officials emphasizing the values of honesty and integrity.

The UN believes that former government officials have engaged in acts amounting to economic crimes, including tax evasion, money laundering, bribery, among others.

It accuses former officials of using their positions to influence decisions in the allocation of state resources, and using public funds for personal gain an advantage.

“The misappropriation and diversion of public funds are made easier by the predominantly cash economy of South Sudan, and are facilitated by nepotism in appointments to senior government positions,” writes HRC-SS in a report released last week.

“An overall lack of transparency and civilian oversight in accounting exacerbates the problem.”

The report urges the government to work with other states to recover and repatriate proceeds from corrupt activities, including properties purchased in neighboring and other countries.

In 2019, a U.S-based advocacy group published a report title: “The Taking of South Sudan,” which accused regional and international companies of profiting from the South Sudan conflict.

The Sentry report exposed corruption tied to the first family in South Sudan.

It also exposed senior leaders from the government and opposition of engaging in corruption activities.

However, the UN demands that the government holds funds held in foreign accounts, and seek assistance to investigate and prosecute the individuals responsible.

The UN also recommended that the government “realign spending priorities and commit resources towards fulfilling citizens’ needs, including ensuring freedom from hunger and other economic, social and cultural rights, and improved standards of living”.

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