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Corruption in the office of the President of the Republic: Mayen Wol and Yel Luol Saga

By: Awan Awan

Juba, November 21, 2013 (SSNA) -- As a way to fight corruption, the President in 2006 formed the anti-corruption commission to prosecute those found to be involved in the embezzlement of public funds and equally advocated for a “zero-tolerance” policy to bolster his plea.

In line with this policy, he recently, suspended two powerful ministers and subsequently referred them for investigations to the toothless anti-corruption. Furthermore, in order to gain trust from the incredulous citizens as well as the international community, he also, suspend two senior officials in his office—namely Mayen Wol his Chief Administrator and a certain Yel Luol, his Executive Secretary—who were also referred to the very same redundant Anti-Corruption for stolen funds in the highest office in the new republic.

While the dismissal of the two ministers has caused some fiasco in the SPLM political fiber, and the suspension of the two corrupt officials in his office was lauded, their secret reinstatement, though mysterious, still needs to be challenged. The institution of the presidency, the beacon of state sovereignty, by law, remains unaudited, neither by the auditor general nor the parliament. It is this institutional shield from accountability that the two “syndicated corruptees” –Mayen and Yel-are extremely exploiting in order to shamelessly and unflinchingly enrich themselves

In perfecting their looting skills, the dynamic duo of Mayan Wool and Yelp Lou, has by design, instituted a flawed labyrinth bureaucracy and a very sophisticated scheme of siphoning money out of the country.

The Plan

Firstly, about a year ago the country irresponsibly set up itself by shutting down its oil production and in the process depriving itself 90 percent of its income. As reality hit and times became though, in order for the government to sustain its activities, it had no choice other than borrowing. In this, Mayen Wol—the scavenger—saw an opportunity to make money, so he first convinced the President, that, his contact, he needed to be included in the loan negotiation team, and then fought much harder to head the economic team, though a lawyer himself. Being from Warrap—the president’s hometown—his wish was of course granted.

The first stop over for borrowing loans was Dubai, UAE, where the team meet some reputable creditors who willingly offered to loan the Government of the Republic of South Sudan eight hundred million dollars—yes!—U$D 800, 000, 000 at an interest rate of 4.5% per annum. That interest alone is high, but since Mayen needed to get his cut, he violated the negotiation tactic, by having a one on one side meeting with the head of the prospective creditor. Since their was no way to accommodate his interest, it had to be included in the general interest rate. After his discussion the interest rate hiked to 8.5% per annum, when confronted by the rest of the team, he blatantly lied and intimidated them by saying he had to accommodate the president’s cut—by working in the office of the president, and his proximity to the Chief Executive of the nation, this is a perfect ruse—which he and Yel Luol has used time and again. In South Sudan, the institution of the Presidency is sacrosanct, and therefore anybody could concoct any lie, corrupt the system and even pervert justice and get away with it as long as they can somehow convince his audience that he is acting in the name of the president. So as we speak, the some of 36 million U$D which accounts for the extra 4% added to the original 4.5% was wired to Mayen’s offshore account set up in Malaysia.

As if he had not learnt from his suspension, immediately after being re-instated, Mayen has again been involved in fraudulent activities. Just a month ago, he invited one of his in-laws, a gold digger by the name of Manon Dut Anyakdit—the first ever Dinka man to be married by a woman—to set up a company and, without following procurement laws, offered him the contract to purchase a fleet of 70 vehicles, consisting only of Toyota land cruisers and 60th edition of Nissan, each vehicle invoiced at the cost of 180, 000 U$D. This amount is double the actual market price; but, that is even beside the point, what is more depressing is the fact with a little over three months after resumption of oil sales and a few months to get out of the austerity measures—assuming things remain constant both economically and politically with the north—it would not be difficult to know that the president’s protocol vehicle are not the priority. Without notifying the President, both Mayen and Yel have insisted the the vehicles have to be procured at all cost. The math indicates that the actual amount of the vehicles is six million and three hundred thousand, but instead they are billing the government twice that amount which is twelve million and six hundred thousand. This, according to both Mayen Wol and Yel Luol, is a good way of making quick money before the president fills in the vacant post of the Minister in the Office of the President. Poor Manon Dut Anyakdit, the scam who was paid by his father in law to marry his daughter, is only a facilitator who is taking the brunt of the complication only to be paid a commission.

Well, the question that must be asked is if Mayen and Yel are so corrupt why are they still serving the president? Well, the reason the escaped unscathed by the recently concluded investigation and charges brought against them is because according to the terms of reference set out to the Anti- Corruption investigators was a one month timeline which actually falls outside the days in which this major crimes did take place. And that explains why the reason their suspension was a public announcement via presidential decree and their re-instatement was so secretive.

If the President is serious and genuine about fighting corruption, then he must start with his office. But if he abstains from the applying the rules when those implicated happened to be from his own home town of Warrap—like Mayen Wol and Yel Luol—then he must be sending the wrong signal to this very diverse nation of ours.

The two criminals—Mayen Wol and Yel Luol—must be reprimanded for their scandalous acts if the president’s war on corruption is to be regarded authentic and original. Application and referrals of corrupts elements to Anti-Corruption cannot be selective, it should be comprehensive, failure to observe that means the president’s war on corruption could merely be political posturing.

South Sudan cannot bankroll Mayen and Yel.

This article is written by Sossaleaks…the newly establish whistleblower of the new nation, and they can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , look out for Part Two (2), coming soon, titled, Corruption Epitome: Bol Mel & the ABMC Link.

South Sudan Sudden Currency Devaluation as Application of Economic “Shock Therapy”

By James Alic Garang

November 20, 2013 (SSNA) -- For the starters, Central Bank of South Sudan issued a circular entitled “Exchange Rate Reforms” on 11 November 2013 to devalue its currency from about 3.16SSP/$1 to 4.5SSP/$1 with goal of unifying the official and black market exchange rates, thereby achieving its immediate target of lowering “short-term exchange rate volatility” and clamping down on “rent-seeking behavior” as well as stimulating the economy. This policy proved unsuccessful, and provoked public outcry over fuel shortage and price hikes of other consumer goods. This train of events compelled the National Legislative Assembly to intervene and order the reversal of the devaluation. The CBSS leadership has diffidently obliged.

First, was unification of the official and parallel market overdue and a worthy goal? The answer is absolutely affirmative.

Second, economics theory is nicer to any currency devaluation save its unintended consequences in an open economy setting. Currency devaluation of domestic currency is theorized to improve the balance of payments as well as boosting economic activity. Devaluation is likened to increase in money supply which makes local currency cheaper relative to foreign currency. It is hypothesized to disfavor imports and positively impact exports. This chain of monetary reactions is posited to bring about positive net exports which bear positively on the gross domestic product.

Third, price stability is one of the goals of the central bank. So, if the central bank’s independence  over management of the monetary policy and achieving price stability is not in question and the theory predicts that currency devaluation is a good thing for the economy in the long run, then what is all this fuss about, especially the public outcry shattering the airwaves and the “corridors of powers” in Juba?

I would argue that the public outcry is justified and that the CBSS has erred in its approach to carrying out currency devaluation.

I. Approach to Devaluation: Shock Therapy Vs Gradualism?

While everyone would agree with the goal of unifying the two rates, the application of the “shock therapy” overnight was ill-advised because rapid devaluation can produce economic shocks. What CBSS did in essence was to decrease the original currency value by 150% from 3SSP/$ to 4.5SSP/$1.  This is a huge change bearing in mind that South Sudan is, generally speaking, an importing economy. Second, it was unwise to “blindly follow” the black market rates. If the black market rate is 4.5SSP/$1 today, what would prevent it from reaching 10SSP/$1 the day after or next week? Have they thought about the consequences of the disequilibrium in the currency markets and how that may lead to price instability, something they were trying to avoid in the first place? Quite frankly, such abrupt devaluation was destined to choke off the import market since it will now be prohibitive to import from East Africa. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that such devaluation is going to be painful to many people; inevitably they will rise up in arms. They surely did!

If history is anything to go by, CBSS should have approached this by taking a leaf from other countries. While some people see the case of Poland as vindication of “shock therapy”, good and reasonable people also believe that sudden currency devaluation can have catastrophic effects. It was what largely got Mexico into currency crisis in 1994.

Therefore, the CBSS should know or should have known that large and sudden devaluation would negatively reverberate in the economy and as thus, they should have devalued the currency gradually by few percentage points, one at a time.

II. Nonexistence of Export Sector in South Sudan

CBSS was bold in believing that devaluation would improve the balance of payments manifolds and stimulate the economy but they failed to account for the fact that South Sudan has no export sector. That South Sudan has no export sector to compensate for the loss in imports should have given the CBSS pause before abruptly devaluing the currency. The gradualist approach would have not backfired as the “big bang” approach just did.

III. Lack of Clarity in Communicating Monetary Policy to the Public

So while unifying the two exchange rates was necessary, the manner in which it was done was ill-considered. Gradualism as opposed to shock therapy would have taken South Sudan a more prudent path toward the unity of the two markets. Secondly, CBSS fumbled the message and failed to communicate clearly to the oversight body and the public. Sadly, with the reversal, CBSS is more bruised than before or its credibility has been dented, dare I say? This lack of clarity is a bad PR and it does not augur well with the tenets of central independence in matters of monetary policy.

IV. Existence of Questionable Currency Exchange Bureaus

 Finally, this policy prescription was not going to work. In fact, it was destined to die on arrival because of the “currency quota” factor. As long as CBSS continues to allocate dollars to foreign exchange bureaus whose aim is to flood the black market with those dollars, this “devaluation” was an exercise in futility. A story is in order. Some months after the independence, those who were trading in dollars on the street were asked to register or get arrested. But like everything else in south Sudan, this policy was never enforced. The black market is proving lucrative to some people in power and who concoct up stories to get dollars at the official rate only to turn around and sell them at black market rates.

What is to be done?

Generally speaking, it is good to recognize that monetary policy does operate in an environment where politics, economics and other factors interact to impose certain constraints on economic actors. A prudent policy maker must try to anticipate some of these countervailing factors.

Second, in least developed countries where the economic fundamentals are usually weak, including high inflation rate such as the case in South Sudan; where there is a fixed exchange regime with local currency artificially pegged to US dollars; and where citizens lack confidence in the national currency due to exchange rate volatility, currency black markets are a typical regularity. They form part of what is referred to as “underground economy” because the latter falls outside the purview of regulatory agencies such as central banks.

Therefore, knowing that black markets do exist in countries such as South Sudan, it would have been prudent for the central bank to come up with practical monetary policy that aims to instill confidence in the local currency as well as making sure that spot trading in foreign currencies is brought under control. It is an eyesore to see just anyone on the street at Customs market or Jubek Memorial market carrying dollars, pounds or both waiting to dump them whenever they hear the wind of dollars falling.

What Should CBSS Do Fast Forward?

The CBSS should not call it quits but continue to innovate and work harder to unify the two exchange rates through:

I. clearly communicating the monetary policy stance to the public as much as possible
II. working with Parliament to clampdown on the illegal currency trading, enforce commonsense market-enhancing regulations, undertake credible reforms within the CBSS and finally,
III. learning one or two lessons about currency management from other developing countries, including East Africa.

In summary, the CBSS was justified in endeavoring to unify the official and parallel market rates. However, the application of shock therapy without thinking about how the consequences of devaluation would play out, and failing to clearly communicate the policy intervention to the public have, in my view, bruised the credibility of the CBSS. It remains to be seen whether CBSS has learned from this experience. Else it would have been the story of yet another crisis gone to waste.

James Garang is reachable at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Elhag Paul’s and the Juba Politicians’ Hypocrisy

By Kuir ë Garang

November 19, 2013 (SSNA) -- In August this year, Elhag Paul did something many of us, I believe, applauded. With a number of his colleagues, he wrote a letter to The Hague regarding the repressive and grotesque existential nature of the current SPLM; and the government of Salvatore Kiir Kuethpiny Mayaardit. Without prejudice, the letter chronicled a number of deaths (killings) arguably committed under the watchful eyes of the President of South Sudan.

I couldn’t help but write to Mr. Paul a congratulatory email:

“While I don't like your other tribally tailored articles because they give South Sudanese an impression it's every Jieng who's destroying the country; this PRESS RELEASE is by far your best contribution to South Sudan. This PR should be supported by any right-minded human being because the country is going (or has already gone) down the drain.”

And in the same stately spirit, he responded in a gentlemanly manner…like I expected.

“Even with all that I will not support any abuse of the Jieng by anybody and I will speak and condemn whoever wants to do it.  We are all human beings and we deserve to respect each and live in peace. Some of my best friends are Jieng and in the early 90's we campaigned together against the ills that befell our people,” Mr. Paul wrote to me in an email.

One would have assumed from that moment on that Mr. Paul would be a man with a glaring, undeniable moral bearing cemented by unsurpassed interest in the well-being of his people (South Sudanese).

Amazingly enough, the august August list of the victims listed by Mr. Paul and his colleagues contains people from different tribes. What was not to admire in a man with such national inclusiveness?

However, on November 11, Mr. Paul wrote an article that leaves many of us wondering what has become of the litigious ‘moralist.’ While the article tried to rationalize the rationale behind the thought, the letter came out as tactless, emotionless, and unsympathetic to the suffering and the deaths, in October, of civilians among Ajuong and Pakeer of Twi County (two clans of Jieng of Twi of Jonglei state). Such weighty and awful level of insensitivity is actually a great mockery to intelligentsia all over South Sudan. Sadly enough, it also gives a devilish precedent to the young generation on how to deal with inter-tribal misfortunes.

Mr. Paul wrote: “By doing so, equally the Jieng need to be reminded of their predatory behaviours and its consequences on others which generate similar feelings to what they are experiencing presently.”

I think our litigious ‘moralist’, who seems well acquainted with the affairs of South Sudan’s inter-tribal skirmishes, is all of a sudden confused and factually disoriented. Mr. Paul seems to see no difference between those killed in their own villages and the corrupt Jieng politicians in Juba. The only thing the villagers and Jieng politicians share is simply the name not the substance of who they are. Any right-minded South Sudanese knows these villagers are suffering like any other destitute and abjectly poor South Sudanese…of any tribes.

As all of us know, these villagers had no protection from the government whatsoever. Shouldn’t a Jieng government protect Jieng villages if that’s what Jieng politicians in Juba are doing? Why did the ‘Jieng government’ allow villagers to be slaughtered for over 6 hours without any ‘Jieng government’ help?

Instead of joining South Sudanese in mourning the victims, Mr. Paul, the ‘august (perfect) August Moralist’, stylishly celebrated the death of 79 innocent civilians. Why’s an educated man confusing the lives of innocent villagers and the indecency of the corrupt politicians most of whom none of us supports?

Mr. Paul, how can you advocate on behalf of South Sudanese to the The Hague while tastelessly rejoicing in a section of South Sudanese being killed in their own villages? Do you equate senseless slaughter of innocent civilians to accountability of Jieng politicians in Juba? Do you believe the slaughter of Jieng woman, children and elderly can affect Jieng politicians in Juba?

You not only come out as purposefully hateful but, also, inadvertently naïve!

As much as you think you’re reminding the Jieng people of the atrocities being committed by Juba and the mismanagement of the national affairs by some Jieng politicians in Juba, you have to remember that your writings have to have a positive overtone…or a constructive intent.

“Chicken Coming Home to Roost” insinuation rules away any positive intention in your heart regarding the slaughter of innocent civilians. You come out as an old, bitter, anti-Jieng man out to denigrate rather than write for the benefit of the nation. I assume you’re an old man because no young South Sudanese has the attitude you have! None!

  • Remember, some of us have been criticizing SPLM even when Dr. John Garang was alive.
  • Try to tone down your anti-Jieng tirades because they overshadow any message you’re trying to convey if you have any positive message at all.
  • Try to differentiate between innocent villagers and the corrupt Jieng politicians.
  • None of us will ever tell you not to criticize SPLM or the Jieng, however, you have to do it in a tasteful, professional and constructive manner
  • Try to differentiate between Jieng as a tribe and the few corrupt Jieng politicians, otherwise you’re just out to vilify the whole tribe; something you think you are, confusedly, not doing

As I told you in the past, you tend to cover all of us with that generic dirty blanket to a point the allies you might have among the Jieng are put off.

We all want South Sudan to develop into a prosperous, cohesive and peaceful society, however, hypocrisy can’t help. You are as hypocritical as the politicians in Juba. All old and frozen in the past with tribal hatred! If you’re not old then your mind is! Most of your articles are either innocently confused or intentionally meant to stir up inter-tribal hatred. You are doing a disservice to South Sudan and the younger generation. Given the length of tastelessness you go to denigrate ALL Jieng people (including people like me and innocent villagers), I believe you’re a frustrated old man with inter-tribal hatred of the 70s and 80s stuck in your head; the Laguesque and Alieresque view of South Sudan politics.

What you write is as divisive as what the Juba politicians do. You and the Juba politicians are two sides of the same coin: DIVISION AND HYPOCRISY! You all pretend to care about South Sudanese while your aim is to plant seeds of hatred among the people for the destruction of the nation and nurture your selfish interest!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese poet, author and publisher living in Canada. For contact, visit www.thenilepress.com or www.kuirthiy.info

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