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'The track record of corruption in South Sudan is extensive' – US reacts to Sentry report

'The track record of corruption in South Sudan is extensive' – US reacts to Sentry report

South Africa

The United States (US) says it does not provide direct financial support to the South Sudan government but it was aware of extensive corruption in Africa’s youngest nation as uncovered in a recent investigative report.

A statement released by the US Department of State on Wednesday read, ‘‘The United States welcomes The Sentry’s report chronicling public corruption among South Sudan’s leaders, including President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar.’‘

The statement further stated that among South Sudan’s extensive corruption track record was the abuse of preferential access to foreign currency, theft of state assets, and corruption in contracting and procurement by top officials of government.

While corruption is harmful in any part of the world, it is especially appalling in a country on the verge of famine and struggling to build a government after only five years of independence.

‘‘While corruption is harmful in any part of the world, it is especially appalling in a country on the verge of famine and struggling to build a government after only five years of independence,’‘ the statement signed by a deputy spokesperson, Toner Mark added.

The US said it had joined other partners to consistently pile pressure on the authorities to look into cases of corruption and to ‘‘implement reforms to fight corruption and increase the transparency of public finances, as part of implementing the peace agreement.’‘

SUGGESTED READING Kiir, Machar and top generals benefitted financially from South Sudan war – Report

They underlined their support for the people of South Sudan who the US said it continues to support with basic services including health and education that are essential for the population’s future, as well as massive lifesaving assistance that has helped avert famine over the last two years.

The US promised to closely work with the – The Sentry – publishers of the damning corruption report on South Sudan in order to deter corruption by officials. The US expressed disappointment at leaders of Africa’s youngest nation accusing them of having ‘‘failed to put aside personal power struggles and individual enrichment for the good of their people.’‘

Who are the investigators?
The Sentry is a Washington DC-based investigative group that seeks to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. This is their first report into a conflict.

SUGGESTED READING South Sudan to take legal action against publishers of corruption report