A research group is calling on the United States to push Uganda into putting financial pressure on South Sudan by blocking flow of corruption gains into the country.
The Enough Project made the statement as the U.S. Department of the Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker begins a tour to Uganda, Kenya and the DR Congo.
The Under-secretary is expected to discuss illicit financial flows fueling the conflict in South Sudan and the massive corruption and human rights abuses in the DRC, among other issues.
The Enough Project said former senior South Sudanese officials appear to have been able to launder corrupt assets into the purchase of real estates in Uganda.
These include three subject to U.S. sanctions – General Gabriel Jok Riak, Lieutenant-General Malek Reuben Riak, and former army chief Paul Malong Awan.
“Every year, billions of aid dollars pour into Africa to fund peacekeeping forces, humanitarian assistance, elections, and peace processes,” John Prendergast, the Co-Founder of the Sentry and Founding Director of the Enough Project.
He said these money is being stolen by corrupt leaders, their families and commercial collaborators.
Mr Prendergast said the treasury department can play a powerful role in creating actual consequences and the leverage necessary to stop corrupt figures.
“Under Secretary Mandelker should highlight that Uganda needs to act against the laundering of the proceeds of corruption from South Sudan into Uganda,” the statement by the Enough Project read.
Actions in Uganda to seize the proceeds of corruption and stop the flow of ill-gotten gains are necessary to push South Sudan’s leaders toward peace, it stressed.
“Laundering the proceeds of corruption is also in direct violation of Ugandan law, which raises significant concerns about Uganda’s implementation of international standards,” the statement added.
The research group called on the US official to reiterate that failure by Uganda to address these issues will be met with an escalating set of pressures.