Lawmaker laments toothless anti-graft body

A lawmaker in the Reconstituted Transitional National Assembly decried ineffectiveness of the Anti-Corruption Commission saying the body is ill-equipped to fight graft.

Reath Tang, who represents Nasir County in Upper Nile State, argued that since the establishment of the institution, no single corrupt official has been prosecuted despite rampant corruption allegations in the country.

 “I was in the last parliament and from that time until today there has never been a case of prosecution of corrupt people,” Tang remarked during the deliberation on the Southern Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (amendment) Bill 2023 on Tuesday.

 “I just wondered now that South Sudan is ranked number one in the corruption in the world. If you look at it, we complain there are no enough data collected but in my own understanding, it is the issue of corruption that is destroying South sudan,” he added.

According to him, the country is collapsing because people are embezzling public money but no one is held accountable.

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“Our country is collapsing because of corruption issue, people are taking money and they are captured and nobody is prosecuted,” he stated.

Tang said South Sudan is one of the richest countries in the world because of its vast resources but this is yet to be realised.

“Any house that does not know how to divide things in the family, that house will be torn apart. You cannot even divide the small things,” he said.

He suggested that the Anti-corruption Commission needs to be given powers to prosecute the corrupt people in the country.

“When somebody is accused of corruption, the president recruits them and in another turn, he goes and appoint them in a very important institution, so I am confused,” he lamented.  

He said the government should start prosecuting people who are corrupt to prove its seriousness in fightin graft.

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“Let us start prosecuting people who are corrupt, let’s call their names; let’s take them to anti-corruption and let them be prosecuted then we tell the world that we are good people.”

Daniel Abocha said the bill, if passed into law, would be able to help in identifying graft loopholes and suspects.  

“You have directors, director generals who have built mansions either in Juba or outside the country through [corupt income],” he alleged.

“[If you and assert declaration form, you will be able to know what you receive versus what you have built whether you are doing business.”

South Sudan’s constitution stipulates that “without prejudice to the powers of the ministry of justice in public prosecution, the commission shall protect public property; investigate cases of corruption involving public property and public.”

It further adds that, “it shall submit such investigation to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution; combat administrative malpractices in public institutions; and pursuant to the provisions of Article 121 (1) herein, require all persons holding such public offices to make confidential formal declarations of their income, assets and liabilities.”

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The Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and Members of the anti-commission shall be appointed by the President with the approval of the National Legislative Assembly by a simple majority of all the members.

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