Time to drain the swamp at the national ministries

Time to drain the swamp at the national ministries

President Salva Kiir on Saturday for the first time revealed the corrupt dealings of his former officials that led to several changes in the finance ministry since the beginning of the pre-transitional period till date.

In his speech during the swearing-in of the newly appointed Minister of Finance, Agak Achuil Lual, Kiir warned against corruption, financial mismanagement, bribery, and delays in salary for civil servants and organised forces. 

He disclosed that those ministers who served in the ministry of finance docket have been perpetuating the siphoning of South Sudan’s money to other countries through their private accounts, delaying salaries of civil servants, and organised forces among others.

“Someone comes and opens his bank accounts in an unknown different place and begins to siphon the country’s money away, to build storage houses that way. This is what my previous staff have been doing, ” said Kiir.

This was a clear message from the president that revealed much about what is going on in most of the government financial institutions in the country. This is exactly what the common people on the street and the places of tea talk about. Therefore, this statement from the president should have given momentum to the Anti-Corruption Commission and General Auditing Chamber where to start from. It is time for the two institutions to show the citizens that their existence is very important.

There have been several reports about public fund management and a high corruption rate mainly perpetrated by government officials, and nobody tends to accept this even though it is visible to the ordinary people living on the street.  So, the anti-corruption commission needs to start following up on such reports, and the head of state has already raised the curtain used for hiding by some government officials to cover up the misappropriation of public funds.

The president may not have an established report about a particular office, but this statement can serve as an eye-opener for the institutions dealing with the fight against corruption to make their voices heard. Indeed, the ministry of finance is one of the government institutions that has become a relief centre in the country. Every day, you cannot miss seeing a queue of people waiting to enter the premises to ask for free money. Some look well-off but still hunt for free money from the government that could be enough for service delivery to benefit the entire citizenry.

It has become a habit for some people that when they are in a crisis, they run to the ministry of finance to borrow money that is not accounted for. They receive it as assistance despite the fact that nowhere else in the world will citizens be able to go and borrow money directly from the ministry of finance, as is the case here. The ministry of finance and planning is always congested from Monday to Friday with most people who are looking for free assistance, and you wonder whether there is some free money located in the national budget to cater for individual needs at the finance minister.