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Customs Director to lose his job

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Friday, August 28, 2020

Maj.-Gen. Ayii Akol at his office in Nimule. He is accused of nepotism and embezzlement of taxpayers’ money | Credit | Courtesy

The Economic Crisis Management Committee has recommended to the President the removal of the Director-General of Customs Service, Major General Ayii Akol.

This is after a sub-committee of the body task with revamping South Sudan’s deteriorating economy submitted a report in a meeting chaired by Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga, Thursday.

The calls for the firing of Major General Ayii comes a month after Eye Radio reported extensively on allegations of “nepotism and embezzlement of taxpayers’ money” in the Customs Service.

In July, officers working at various border points in the country called for the resignation of the Ayii over corruption allegations.

About 36 customs service told Eye Radio that Maj.-Gen. Ayii allegedly swindles taxes generated from the border points into his private account, an allegation Ayii denied.

Some claim the Director has privatized at least 18 new vehicles and shown favoritism towards those related to him.

They also alleged that the General illegally grants tax exemptions to some traders.

A fact-finding of subcommittee led by the Minister of Agriculture, Onyotti Adigo also found that import taxes among others are still being channeled into private bank accounts.

When contacted by Eye Radio, the Director-General of Custom service, General Ayii Akol trashed all the allegations. He instead said he is reforming the Custom services.

Ayii, however, admitted that some money was being deposited into what he described as Account Two –which he said was officially opened by the National Revenue Authority.

But the law allows the NRA to open one single treasure account which is used for the remittance of all non-oil revenues.

“…illegal accounts closure in the process of implementation; All the accounts that are illegally open in any other bank should be closed,” the resolution of the committee read.

In a meeting yesterday of the newly established Economic Crisis Management Committee, the body endorsed that General Ayii should be suspended from the position.

“The meeting resolved to implement the recommendation as follows; one, recommend to his Excellency the President to suspend the Director-General of the Custom. Two, investigate and possible prosecution in the process of implementation,” said Puot Kang Chol, Minister of Petroleum.

In January, Transparency International ranked South Sudan as the world’s second most corrupt country in the world.

Last month, President Salva Kiir admitted that non-oil revenues are not being fully remitted into the single block account of the National Revenue Authority.

He said the country has been unable to compensate for the fall in oil revenues with tax collections.

The President added that when collected and well managed, the non-oil revenue should be able to meet the government’s expenditure, including timely payment of monthly salaries.

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