At least sixteen cabinet ministers in Western Equatoria have accused the state Governor of misappropriating 72 million South Sudanese pounds meant for paying civil servants, an allegation denied by the Governor’s office.
On 8th December, Governor Alfred Futuyo publicly accused some of his ministers of embezzling an unspecified amount that was allocated for the commemoration of World AIDS Day in the state.
Futuyo’s public statement reportedly angered some ministers of which they described the accusations as baseless.
They instead accused Governor Alfred Futuyo of misappropriating state funds and creating self-centered leadership in Western Equatoria state.
The Ministers said that Futuyo had withdrawn about 72 million pounds from the public coffers which they said was not reflected in the state transfer.
John Ada Wilson, the Minister of Parliamentary and legal Affairs who read the statement to the media in Yambio town says the governor has been keeping details of the state budget secret.
“Hon. Governor has been keeping details of the state government budget secret since the appointment of the cabinet which is unlawful. For example,” Ada said.
“The missing amount of about South Sudanese pounds 72,000 000 out of South Sudanese pounds 192, 332, 542.84 for chapter one and chapter two for the month of July 2021.”
“The missing money has been withdrawn by the Hon. Governor from Juba and that was not reflected in the last transfer to the state account in Yambio,” Ada added.
The ministers include, Elia Richard Box, Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement, John Ada Wilson, the Minister of Parliamentary and Legal Affairs and James Adu Vodoki, the minister of Health.
Others are Alison Barnaba, the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Forestry, Ann Felix Bayego, Minister of Animal Resources, Fisheries and Tourism and Simon Peter Sarawasi, the Minister of Land, Housing and Public Utilities.
Yona Robert Mark, Minister of Cooperatives and Rural Development and Grace Apollo Mussa, Minister for General Education and Instructions and Anna Tuna Richard of Roads and Bridges were also among those allegedly involved.
The cabinet Ministers appealed to President Salva Kiir to form an independent committee to pay the civil servants in the state.
They are also urging the national ministry of finance and planning to withhold the next salary transfer to the state until the matter is resolved to avoid what they referred to as “misappropriation of funds by some members of the state executive.
“We are appealing to your good office to form a committee to pay salaries of state government officials for the months of July 2021 and salary arrears of the defunct states,” partly reads the statement.
“We are also appealing to your office to withhold the next salary transfer until this matter is resolved to avoid misappropriation of funds.”
Responding to the allegation, the Press Secretary in the office of the Governor of Western Equatoria refuted the allegation.
Alex Digi says the ministers are from one party and term the document as propaganda and illegal.
“This letter is really an illegal letter because it was only signed by the ministers who are members of one party, those who signed the document are all from SPLM that means the document does not really represent the cabinet as they mentioned,” Alex told Eye Radio.
“This document can be called a propaganda so that he [governor] should be removed from his position according to the way it is addressed.
“If the ministers were to raise their concern, they were supposed to either raise it to the deputy governor before it goes to the President.”
Alex Digi further said Governor Alfred Futuyo has summoned the executives for an extraordinary council of Ministers scheduled for Monday to look into the matter.
However, the list of those who signed the document include six SPLM/A-IO members, five SSOA members and five SPLM-IG members.
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