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Citing Fraud, South Sudan State Stops Aid

Central Equatoria state in South Sudan has banned most requests for financial aid, saying many of the claims it receives are fraudulent. (AP)
Only the neediest residents of Central Equatoria state in South Sudan will be able to apply for financial assistance from the state, after authorities said they believe many of the requests for help they have received are bogus.

“People are making money through being sick," Oba Cicilia Tito, the Cabinet Affairs Minister for Central Equatoria state, told a news conference late Wednesday after the governor issued a decree banning requests for aid from all but the most needy.

"Even if you are not sick, you can claim you are or you can photocopy someone’s documents and then call for money. Then when you are given the money, you go to Uganda for two days... You come back and build your house or you buy your car," she said.

"We know what is happening.”

Tito said the state government gets requests for money from at least 10 residents every day. Some ask for as much as $25,000 -- a healthy sum in a country where the gross national income is around $1,000.

Residents who can prove genuine need will be helped, said Tito, but, like everyone else, they will have to follow the correct procedures when applying for assistance