File photo: H.E. President Kiir.
The war on graft in South Sudan turns into a common song when it comes to why the perpetrators or the corrupt officials can not be punished. But one significant puzzle in the question of why they always escape the pangs of justice, is the fact that the President himself appoint such people. Most of which were included in a detailed report by The Sentry. A report which the president is linked to the massive corruption persisting the country amid too much suffering. But the president seems to be willing to fight graft.
While talking during swearing in ceremony of the Director General of South Sudan head of customs in 2017, the president lamented about having not been surrounded by people who work but rather who knows how to eat. He was alluding to mishandling and the ‘consumption’ of public resources by the very people that surrounds him, especially those that are tasked with the nation building.
According to a report by Eye Radio today:
The President has admitted that non-oil revenues are not being fully remitted into the single block account of the National Revenue Authority.
Established in 2018, the Revenue Authority is mandated to assess, collect, administrate, and enforce laws relating to taxation and revenues.
But the tax-collecting body is a subject of continuous criticism over its handling of non-oil revenues across the country.
In August 2019, Minister Salvatore Garang Mabiordit fired the then NRA Commissioner-General Dr. Olympio Attipoe without explanations.
The Ghanaian national was appointed by President Kiir in 2018 through a deal with the African Development Bank.
The former NRA boss would inform the public regularly on the amount collected and the challenges faced in reforming the public accountability and transparency sector.
However, the Acting Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority, Erjok Bullen immediately suspended the announcement of monthly collections, without satisfactory reasons.
Shortly after taking over, Eye Radio reported how some questionable transactions were made by NRA officials following a number of leaked documents.
Last week, Onyoti Adigo — the Chairperson of the Economic Cluster subcommittee called for a thorough investigation into non-oil revenues that he says are being diverted into individual accounts.
The non-oil revenues are by law wired into the account of the National Revenue Authority.
While addressing the nation during the 9th Independence anniversary, President Salva Kiir said the country has been unable to compensate for the fall in oil revenues with none oil revenue collections.
President Kiir says when collected and well managed, the non-oil revenue should be able to meet the government’s expenditure.
The president, however, admitted that little of the collections are remitted into the national coffers.
“To address this pandemic problem, we shall be exploring ways and means to speedily rectify this situation such that at the very least, we are able to pay monthly salaries on time,” Kiir stated.
Reacting to Kiir’s admission, political analyst Dr. James Okuk says the president should lead in the implementation of the constitution by holding to account those found to have diverted taxes.
“And the law is very clear on people who really play with public goods,” Okuk. “Their place is prison, they shouldn’t be left to be roaming freely in the country or abroad”
Though the president has always been willing to fight graft, it is somehow mind boggling why he fails to punish the doers.