Widely publicised allegations that public officials in South Sudan are responsible for US$4 billion missing from public coffers may actually be untrue, according to South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar Teny.
Previously Machar had called for an investigation into the missing money but at a recent rally of his party’s supporters in Lakes State’s Rumbek on July 3, Machar said that the allegations may have had political motivations and may not actually be true at all, or exaggerated.
Machar claims it is a politically motivated smear campaign.
The allegations came to light after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir wrote a letter asking 75 officials to give back money that was unaccounted for, out of the national coffers. It is thought that much of the money went missing via fake companies who signed contracts to deliver or store extra grain in 2008 – and those allegations were widely reported upon in local and international media.
After first ordering further investigations and then blaming his country’s weak institutions”, now Machar says he believes that the allegations were made to defame the SPLM”, his party, and currently ruling South Sudan.
Four billion is too much money to be taken by 75 officials,” Machar told the crowd at Rumbek’s Freedom Square. Over the past seven years, the government only ever received around US$11 billion from Khartoum in oil revenues. So where is this US$4 billion supposed to be coming from? Basically this is false information, intended to defame the SPLM, which some people have described as corrupt.”
The rally Machar was speaking at was one of a series held in Lakes State to increase support for the ruling party. But it’s hard to say whether Rumbek locals believed what the Vice-President had to say.
Why did the President publicise the names of the corrupt people if none of this was true?” one local, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The Niles.