International community 'to blame' for graft in South Sudan

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

South Sudan has hit back at a US lobby group for questioning President Salva Kiir’s commitment to fighting corruption.

Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny slammed the US-based Enough Project for claiming President Kiir’s administration was failing in its promise to combat corruption in the young nation.

Mr Ateny said in a statement on Friday in Juba that lack of support from the international community was the main setback to President Kiir's efforts and commitment to recover the public funds stolen by a number of senior government officials before and after independence.

His promises

Enough Project issued a statement recently urging the South Sudanese leader to put into action his promises to end corruption in South Sudan.

However, Mr Ateny said the president had made multiple attempts to recover the stolen cash, but could not get the support from the global community.

“The people of South Sudan and President Salva Kiir are the victims of corruption. It is the desire of the president to ensure those stolen funds are recovered.

Life in prison

“This was why he wrote letters to 75 officials to return the money they have stolen and even offered to pardon them. This was a clear demonstration of willingness to combating corruption but the international community did not support this important campaign,” he said.

Mr Ateny highlighted the recent sentencing to life in prison of 16 officials for stealing $14 million and 30 million South Sudanese pounds from president’s office.

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