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SPLM MP warns anti-corruption drive could fuel rebellion

Author: Moyo Jacob | Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2024

FILE PHOTO: Hon. John Agany, former Chairperson of Information Committee at the TNLA - Courtesy/March 2022

A lawmaker from the SPLM argued that cracking down on corruption during the peace agreement’s implementation could fuel rebellion.

John Agany asserted that only an elected government has the legitimacy to effectively combat corruption.

The lawmaker was reacting to a concern raised by a Civil Society Activist over lack of accountability.

Luate Joel Satimon, Chief Executive Officer of a Civil Society Organization dubbed Integrity South Sudan says there is a lack of discipline in the financial policies coupled with the absence of a functional Anti-Corruption body that continues to empower corruption in the country.

He says accountability can only be realized where there is discipline in the financial policies.

Joel pointed out that the lack of transparency and accountability is leading to huge corruption prompting Transparency International to declare South Sudan as the most corrupt country in the world.

Luate is now calling for the reconstitution of the Anti-Corruption Commission to fight against corruption practices in the country.

“Accountability can only be achieved if there is a discipline in implementing public finance management policies, which unfortunately are not practised in our country,” Joel emphasized during Eye Radio‚Äôs Sundown Show.

“According to Chapter Four of the Peace Agreement, the reconstitution of the Anti-Corruption Commission is mandated, yet it remains unfulfilled to date. This commission is essential for combating corruption in South Sudan,” he stated.

“The approach to fighting corruption here often involves ad hoc committee formations in response to suspicious activities, but these committees have consistently failed to deliver results,” Joel criticized.

“It’s crucial to reconstitute the commission so it can fulfil its role effectively,” he emphasized.

“The lack of government accountability and transparency contributes significantly to rampant corruption, leading Transparency International to classify South Sudan as the most corrupt country in the world.”

Reacting to the statement, John Agany, Member of Parliament from the SPLM docket says fighting corruption at present will only encourage rebellion.

Agany says the emphasis of the government now is to bring about peace, and conduct elections and the democratically elected government will then handle the matter.

“We proposed strengthening the Anti-Corruption Commission to combat major corruption cases. The legislation was passed, but unfortunately, it has not been implemented yet,” Agany explained.

“You might wonder why it’s been delayed. It’s because enforcing it could lead to rebellion until the next government is elected to hold these individuals accountable,” he added.

“Corruption is a human flaw; without legal constraints, anyone can succumb to it. While we have sufficient laws, the current government’s primary duty, as we all know, is to establish peace, not to pursue accountability,” Agany argued.

“Attempting to achieve both simultaneously is impractical. We should prioritize one task at a time. Let’s focus on elections first; otherwise, we’re opening a can of worms,” he concluded.

On his part, Samuel Buhori Loti, a Member of Parliament from SSOA differs with Agany and says, the Commission and Police have not been provided powers to handle what he describes as big fish.

“I have to respectfully disagree with Agany on this. Addressing corruption should not be deferred while we pursue peace. Accountability is crucial at all levels of leadership in our country,” said Samuel.

“Our Minister of Finance has failed to present even a single expenditure report to date, despite the legal requirement for quarterly submissions,” he continued.

“Just as the budget preparation is underway, he hurriedly submitted two quarterly reports for the first quarter, which was supposed to end in December, violating Section 13(2)(c) of the Appropriation Act.

“These are ongoing issues that we, as Members of Parliament, continuously address as part of our primary responsibilities within the TNLA.

“If we neglect these duties, who else will take them up? If we cripple the Anti-Corruption Commission by restricting their authority, they cannot effectively investigate or prosecute. Our law enforcement agencies lack the necessary authority to pursue high-profile cases,” he concluded.

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