News / Africa

Theft from S. Sudan President's Office Inside Job?

South Sudanese investigators say thefts from the office of President Salva Kiir could have been an inside job.
South Sudanese investigators say thefts from the office of President Salva Kiir could have been an inside job.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
Investigators in South Sudan say two alleged thefts in the president's office were likely an inside job, and they say negligence on the part of senior officials is partly to blame for the dekayed investigation.

Some $70,000 that was kept in the president's office to pay staff who do not have bank accounts, along with two laptops, went missing from Kiir's office in the space of a week in March, Justice John Gatwech Lul, who led the special investigation, said in a news conference last Friday.

“The burglary took place allegedly through a hole dug into the office," Gatwech said.

"During the second theft, which took place just about seven days after the first one, 32,374 South Sudanese pounds were stolen from a cash box. There was one cash box among others that was just picked up and taken away, leaving some of the boxes where there was little money.”

Gatwech said negligence on the part of three officials, including the executive director of Kiir's office, Yel Luol Koor, made it more difficult for the investigative team to find out what happened.

The  office of the president did not report that the money or laptops were missing until after the second robbery because they were more concerned about how the public would react than they were about stopping the robberies.

None of the missing money has been recovered.

Two others named by investigators for their alleged negligence were Chief Administrator Mayen Wol Jong and Controller of Accounts Nhomout Agoth Cithiik.

The president's office has been reorganized to improve security and accounting procedures since the money went missing, government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said.

The government "will take legal measures" against any suspects who are apprehended, Marial said.

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