Massive plundering of the public coffers of South Sudan is undermining human rights in the world’s youngest nation and threatening its already fragile peace process, according to a UN report released on Thursday.
Since independence a decade ago, South Sudan has struggled to emerge from five years of civil war and is battling chronic instability, economic chaos, ethnic violence and a hunger crisis, according to report on ALJAZEERA.
The UN’s Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said a “staggering” amount of money and other wealth had been diverted from public coffers and resources – more than $73m since 2018, with almost $39m stolen across a period of less than two months.
It described the figure as only a fraction of the overall amount looted, saying President Salva Kiir had admitted as far back as 2012 that South Sudan’s governing elites had diverted more than $4bn.
Commission Chair Yasmin Sooka said the UN’s documentation of the “corruption, embezzlement, bribery, and misappropriation of State funds by political elites is merely the tip of the iceberg.”
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Revenue Authority, and a number of foreign corporations have all been complicit in this”, Sooka added.
The report said that through these actions, “South Sudan’s leaders are undermining human rights and endangering security” and called on them to implement the terms of the peace deal to ensure proper economic management.
“This plundering also continues to fuel political competition amongst elites, and is a key driver of the ongoing conflict, violations and serious crimes, jeopardizing the prospects for sustainable peace,” the commission said in the report.
The report accused South Sudan’s elites of deliberately adopting a “highly informal” system of oil revenue collection without independent oversight and transparency that is enabling the misappropriation of public funds.