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Serious financial pressure with meaningful consequences is not only possible but critically necessary to counter violent kleptocracy, protect human rights and end conflict

June 10, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) – The Sentry and the Enough Project welcome U.S. Department of the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker’s upcoming trip to sub-Saharan Africa. The Under Secretary is expected to discuss illicit financial flows fueling the devastating conflict in South Sudan and the massive corruption and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, among other issues.

This trip represents an historic step for a senior Treasury official in engagement in sub-Saharan Africa and can potentially make a major impact on these long-standing crises by showing how strategic tools of financial pressure can increase U.S. leverage and mark a break from previously ineffective approaches.

The trip starts Monday, June 11 in Uganda and is followed by visits to Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Sentry and Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: “Every year, billions of aid dollars pour into Africa to fund peacekeeping forces, humanitarian assistance, elections, and peace processes. But in countries like South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, none of this support has been able to keep corrupt leaders and their network of family and commercial collaborators from stealing billions of dollars while using war, repression, and mass atrocities to maintain their grip on state power. Financial tools of pressure, such as those available to the U.S. Treasury Department, can play a powerful role in creating actual consequences and the leverage necessary to stop corrupt figures from using violence and other means to maintain or gain power.”

The first leg of the trip, to Uganda, will be Under Secretary Mandelker's first chance to deliver the message about the way these tools are being used to impact the conflict in South Sudan, and how the pressure will increase on regional enablers. Taking this directly to Kampala is essential because current and former senior South Sudanese officials, including three subject to U.S. sanctions – General Gabriel Jok Riak, Lieutenant General Malek Reuben Riak, and former army chief Paul Malong Awan – appear to have been able to launder corrupt assets into the purchase of real estate in Uganda.

In recent Congressional testimony, Prendergast said: “The Sentry urges serious financial pressure with meaningful consequences -- this is not only possible but critically necessary to protect civil liberties and freedoms in Sub-Saharan Africa. The key ingredients to a more effective cocktail of U.S.-led financial leverage are network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, working hand-in-glove.”

Under Secretary Mandelker should highlight that Uganda needs to act against the laundering of the proceeds of corruption from South Sudan into Uganda. Actions in Uganda to seize the proceeds of corruption and stop the flow of ill-gotten gains are necessary to push South Sudan’s leaders toward peace. Laundering the proceeds of corruption is also in direct violation of Ugandan law, which raises significant concerns about Uganda’s implementation of international standards for combatting anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing, and presents an ongoing impediment to Uganda’s efforts to develop as a commercial center in the region. Under Secretary Mandelker should reiterate that failure by Uganda to address these issues will be met with an escalating set of pressures.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, +1 310-717-0606, [email protected]enoughproject.org.

About THE SENTRY

The Sentry is composed of best-in-class financial forensic investigators, policy analysts, and regional experts who follow the dirty money and build investigative cases focusing on the corrupt transnational networks most responsible for Africa’s deadliest conflicts. By creating a significant financial cost to these kleptocrats through network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, prosecutions, and other tools, The Sentry aims to disrupt the profit incentives for mass atrocities and oppression, and creates new leverage in support of peace efforts and African frontline human rights defenders. The Sentry’s partner, the Enough Project, undertakes high-level advocacy with policy-makers around the world as well as wide-reaching education campaigns by mobilizing students, faith-based groups, celebrities, and others. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of Not On Our Watch (NOOW) and the Enough Project. The Sentry currently focuses its work in South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic.

In less than two years, The Sentry has created hard-hitting reports and converted extensive research into a large volume of dossiers on individuals and entities connected to grand corruption, violence, or serious human rights abuses. The investigative team has turned those dossiers over to government regulatory and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and around the world, as well as to compliance officers at the world’s largest banks.

Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.

ABOUT THE ENOUGH PROJECT 

The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

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