By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan has reported that $3.1 M has gone missing in the Directorate of Nationalities Passport and Immigration due to a rapid corruption in the fragile country.
This was a result of the investigation carried out by the sub-cluster committee led by the deputy head of the committee, Onyoti Adigo, in an effort to save a country after the fall in oil prices and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have left the country’s economy on its knees.
The committee also stated that unknown amount for Number Plate and licences is amissing from Directorate of Traffic Police and Criminal Investigation.
This was the outcome of the investigation by the sub cluster committee led by Hon. Onyoti. Heads of these departments have been summoned to explain the whereabout of the money
Of recently, President Salva Kiir had formed the country economic’s crisis management committee, headed up by the Vice President for Economics Cluster, James Wani Igga to reform and investigate the illegal collection of non oil revenues and to come up with modalities to improve on the economy in the landlocked country.
The economic crisis committee comprises of ministers of finance, trade, and industry, petroleum, and mining, including Dean of college of economic studies at the University of Juba.
The establishment of the committee also comes a days after the Central Bank’s second deputy governor, Daniel Kech Pouch, admitted that the financial institution had ran out of foreign reserves – a claim that was later revoked by the governor – Jamal Abdallah Wani.
In its first meeting on Thursday, the committee had recommended the suspension of the Director-General of Customs Service, Major General Ayii Akol, recently accused of misappropriation of the public fund by his staff.
South Sudan economic is deteriorating as local currency keeps depreciating against the US dollar. Currently, currency speculators say 1 US dollars goes for about 420 South Sudanese pounds (SSP).
South Sudan’s economy has been ruined by several factors since its independence in 2011; years of civil war and corruption, a drop in global oil prices and plus the COVID-19 pandemic, have brought the world youngest nation’s economy to its knees.
But the restive country’s economic troubles date back to January 2012, when Juba suspended all oil production following disputes with Khartoum regime over processing and transit fees for exporting crude oil.
Also in 2015, a years after conflict broke out in 2013 in Juba, president Kiir’s administrations adopted a floating foreign exchange policy which some economists say contributed to the economic downfall.
Abraham Kuol Nyuon, the Secretary of the Economic Crisis Committee says the heads of some of the departments implicated in the missing funds have been summoned to explain the whereabouts of the money.
“In the presentation which was presented by sub-economic cluster which was dealing with this institution that has done a preliminary investigation, there is something that has to do with the missing of 3.1 million USD which has not been accounted for and it has been used by the department of immigration without the approval of appropriate authority such as the ministry of finance and planning and the national revenue authority,” Kuol told the state-owned SSBC TV on Friday, who is also a Dean of college of Social and Economic Studies at the University of Juba
The committee also said tax exemptions on imports will be reviewed.
Meanwhile, yet the national Parliament to be reconstituted, summons the country’s finance Minister, Central Bank governor, and the acting commissioner-general of the National Revenue Authority over economic collapse. The officials are expected to appear before the August House this week.
The country’s economists also blame the government for being slow in implementing economic reform provisions in the 2018 peace deal, which believe to ending the country’s five year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes, before it has devestasted the country’s economy.
To address the shortfall in its supplementary budget, Juba has announced a plans to borrow $250 million from the African Export and Import Bank to cover the country’s budget deficit and also to mitigate the negative impact of Covid 19 on economic growth.