To President Kiir: End the impunity!!!

Burlington, Vermont – Alot of missed opportunities for the past 7 years by South Sudan civil servants! It is still the case that our public policy priorities (investment in education, economy, health care and national security both internally and externally) that were well articulated by South Sudan Founder, Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior, are all unmet 7 years later. Instead, the public servants looted the national treasury and spent it on their own priorities of multiple wives and mansions in western countries. And we are now left crying over spilled milk! We are now at the old time low where we have some heartbroken South Sudanese questioning the liberation struggle as to whether or not it was worth the sacrificed lives and treasure (if only the Arab elite class looting spree is now replaced by the South Sudanese elite class looting spree). I urge those dissenting voices to calm down for there is nothing more precious than our motherland – Republic of South Sudan!

But the point is where do we go from here? Well, $4 billion squandered is spilled milk that won’t be recovered but the sense of impunity has to end now rather than later if we are still planning to invest in the above mentioned public policy priorities.

I reiterate: let’s be realistic about the state of affairs with the stolen $4 billion – this money will not be recovered! This is because any human being who is inclined to steal always has no intention of returning the stolen property otherwise there is no point in stealing in the first place. And by the way, thieves do not even believe to have stolen anything in the first place because they legitimatize theft in their minds to console their souls to still feel they are worthy of societal respect. And as we all know from old Dinka adage, even a thief apprehended “red-handed” does not accept the responsibility of theft but rather argues “people say I have stolen a property.” Second, it is highly likely that the stolen money may have been misused to encourage, maintain or perpetuate lavish lifestyle (including paying dowries for multiple wives and buying multiple mansions in western countries). The remaining spoils may have been put away at Swiss bank where Swiss Government will stonewall the investigations forever. For those who do not know, the Swiss bank is the natural safe haven for stolen African petrodollars for the laws are so loose that even an individual can open a bank account at Swiss bank without disclosing his or her identity.

Therefore, the idea of begging the suspected culprits to return the money to the opened bank account in Kenya won’t work simply because there is nothing out there. And if there is any leftover spoil, these individuals aren’t going to hand it over that easily without waging legal battles against South Sudan Government. This is a dead end road folks with Swiss loose banking laws stacked against South Sudan Government!

So what should the government do? I think what can be done is to end the sense of impunity by just doing the bare minimum that president is capable of doing at least for now. In my view, these individuals have betrayed “the governed – South Sudanese” and they do not deserve to remain on the government’s payroll in the name of public servants – they aren’t. The president should ask them to step aside until they clear their names from wrongdoings before they are afforded other opportunities to serve in our government. In addition, the president must make their names public for they owe South Sudanese explanation on what has happened to $4 billion.

To summarize, firing the suspected officials is the first action the president must take as the legal avenues as well as other anticorruption steps are being explored. While the investigation and/or legal battle over the stolen $4 billion may go on forever because this is where it is headed, the fact that these officials are dismissed will serve as a deterrent from similar wrongdoings in which case we will then refocus our efforts on investing in the above mentioned public policy priorities.

Akol Aguek Ngong, MBA, is Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Vermont. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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