By Zechariah Makuach Maror
Your Excellency, I would like to assert my absolute appreciation to you and your Shepherdship for bringing bearable and permanent peace to the people of South Sudan through strict implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. The Revitalized Peace Agreement which you have inked in 2018 has restored the lost hope among the frantic South Sudanese who were traumatized by conflict's related hardships. We the citizens of South Sudan do also compliment your endless efforts and struggle towards economic revival. Our Country's economy would have been at par long time ago if the measures which you recently initiated, were successfully executed by the minister of Finance and planning.
Your Excellency, I am writing this open letter to enlighten you about the unrealistic policies of the finance minister Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabior since his appointment up to date of writing. The diversion of public funds and the turning of a national ministry into a group business entity have impelled me to write this open letter. The heinous policies of the minister of finance and planning has convinced me to believe in your words of letting out last year that, you had got people who know how to eat but not people who know how to work. No doubt the current minister of finance is not an exception of people who only know how to deal in that business. The following are the visible and undeniable indications which implied that Salvatore Garang has deteriorated the whole ministry of finance.
1. He illegally dismissed the former head of Revenue Authority Dr. Olympio Attippoe on baseless corruption allegations yet the committee he has formed to investigate him found out that he was corruption free. Truthfully he was relieved because of his reform policies that are hung around the principle of transparency and accountability. In which he for the first time in the history of this country, a single treasury account was opened in the National Revenue Authority in which all taxpayers paid taxes into without human interference. This banking reform has led to drastic reduction in leakages in revenue collection, reporting and accountability. it was as the result of this banking reform that contributed to the public announcement of the collection which is in accordance with the National Revenue Authority Act., mandating the NRA the powers vested on them under Section 50 of the NRA Act, 2016.
The new banking reform stopped the illegal transfer of public funds into private accounts and made all revenue collected publicly to the government. NRA as an autonomous institution. The NRA has administration autonomy to collect all non-oil revenue in the country and account for them. Section 6 (2) (d) of the National Revenue Authority Act, mandated the NRA to take all such measures as may be required to counteract tax and customs fraud and any other forms of tax evasion, that was exactly the Ghanaian Commissioner General was adhering to the detriment of the looters at the expenses of interest of the people of South Sudan. This bitter unexpected turn of events shuddered the minister’s dreams of squandering funds and had no option but to dismiss him to pave the way for continuation of his habitual hoax he had been engaging on since his appointment.
2. The minister of finance and planning is wielding the money of the ministry to funding illegal groups to achieve his personal goals. He recently released forty million South Sudanese pounds (4,000,000 SSP) to some group of youths in his community to mobilize the grassroots leaders to overthrow Kuac community leadership which he has developed differences with recently. This group of young people are now running crazy in Kuajok town mobilizing chiefs, and local leaders with the country's resources with an aim of installing him as Kuac community leader.
The under mentioned sum are apart from last year's sum of pounds given to traditional ritual leaders which are locally known as spear masters to perform their traditional ritual (spiritual activities) to maintain him in the ministry of finance and planning. He is furthermore using public money for hiring some proclaimed media personnel to defend him on social platform, for instance, last year he gave Mathiang Jalap Dongrin an amount of 1,000,000 SSP and another 2,000,000 SSP this year to defend him on the media. The Wonder is that why is he diverting the public resources for his personal interest? Does Garang Mabiordit serve people's interests really?
3. Failure to implement his promises of economy recovering.
It could be remembered that Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit promised to improve the economy in six months during the time of his swearing in at the state house J1. His appointment as a minister of finance and economic planning was considered as your last attempt to recover the economy but it later turned out to be the last attempt to exacerbate the economic crisis. Upon taking oath of office, Salvatore Garang forgot about his promise of ending the economic crisis and he embarked on diverting the little remaining money in the Central Bank. The hard currency rose against our local currency drastically because of his decision to divert the remaining hard currency to the black markets. The economic crisis has worsened and it is still worsening under his administration compared to the administration of the former ministers.
4. Division of ministry's staff on the basis of relationship and friendship:
The minister of finance and planning has neglected the legal procedures of financial transactions and adopted a preference system. For example, the offer of contracts is referred to his office management team and close bodyguards before approval without forwarding them to the concerned officials in the ministry. The office of the minister is believed to be the only powerful office in the ministry of finance and planning because many concerned directorates are neglected in the decision making process making his work with his associates.
5. The repayment of already paid debts:
Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has introduced a repayment policy especially to his close loyalists whose debts were already paid by the former ministers., For example, the repayment of Wau airport construction arrears last year to a contractor who was already paid long time ago by the previous minister symbolizes that there was a secret agreement between Salvatore Garang Mabiordit and his blood relative, the contractor. The repayment of Wau Airport Construction arrears was done on the agreement of "half budget allocation" to the account of Salvation Garang Mabiordit by that contractor.
6. The bribery policy in the payment transactions.
The ministry of finance and planning particularly the office of minster has assigned some officials who act as a middleman in payment of credits, the minister relatives especially office management team and close protection personnel are the one engaging in this illegal process. Any business creditor who wants to check in the ministry must first bribe the middlemen and close bodyguards of Salvatore Garang with an average of 30 % to 40% in cheque. His former and current private secretaries, officer managers and executive secretaries have turned millionaires through this illegal deal. As I am writing, one of his former office managers owns four V8 Prado compared to the less period he spent in the office. The purchase of a new model V8 by all former Salvatore's aid has sent a signal of rampant broad daylight dishonesty in the ministry of finance and planning.
7. The use of a covering letter in financial transaction.
Hon Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has illegally abandoned legal administrative channels of performing ministry's activities and adapted the use of what he calls "covering letter" in financial transactions. This resulted into administrative dispute between him and the senior directors at the ministry before last year. On 28th November 2018, Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit issued a cheque of multi million dollars and directed the central bank of South Sudan to transfer the said amount of money to the account of a certain Company which he is a shareholder without the knowledge of Director for account in the ministry. After director realized that, the minister had directed the central bank to transfer said dollars to the account of that Company, the director for accounts who was by then unaware of the details of payment transactions immediately questioned the minister about the legality of the transaction. The minster got annoyed and responded to the director’s question by dismissing him from the office on 21st Dec 2018. Followed by further withdrawal of all powers of the directors as well as the transaction documents and transferred them to the system controller whom he considers as his loyalist at the ministry. Many directors at the ministry of finance and planning are totally confused and unaware of what is happening after Salvatore Garang has withdrawn their constitutional powers from them. The minster also withdrew the valuable transaction documents from the offices of the concerned directors and transferred them to his office.
8. Unconstitutional dismissal and replacement of Ministry's senior staff with his friends and family
Your Excellency, the unconstitutional dismissal and replacement of senior directors as well as the staff in the ministry of finance by Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit violates the South Sudan Civil Servants Act. He has employed many of his close friends in the ministry without following legal procedures of employment as prescribed by South Sudan Civil Servant Act. In 2018-2019, he has grasped the powers of Human Resource Director in the ministry which has culminated into tension between them. To worsen the tension, Salvatore Garang dismissed many directors and senior officials from the ministry without upright reasons. The tension between him and some staff compelled him to falsely accuse them of assassinating him. He concocted misleading reports to you last year that he had resulted in the dismissal of former deputy minister of finance and planning, hon. Goc Makuac he also increased the number of his bodyguards which is against your last year’s order of " one bodyguard for every national minister"
9. favoring certain business persons among the South Sudanese business Community in terms of debt payment transactions.
Your excellency, the minister of finance and planning has totally failed to observe and maintain equality and fairness in handling the affairs of the business community. His failure to treat the business persons equally led to public outcry about how he and his office management team are handling the affairs of the business persons at the ministry. He is favoring and cooperating with few businessmen, of which majority are his close relatives and friends who have joined ventures with him. This has created suspicion and mistrust between goods suppliers and the ministry. In addition to that, Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has chosen one businessman who is his close relative to act as a middleman or dealer between him and business people in regard to clearance of the debts to creditors. Salvatore Garang's policy of favoring few businessmen has tarnished the ministry's image since cooperating with one to three people with an interest of gaining profit which is unconstitutional.
10. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has enriched himself with the public resources.
Your Excellence. Hon. Garang Mabiordit has purchased more than unusual luxurious houses in Juba, apart from the concrete buildings that are under construction. He has also bought several business companies. He had also bought many hotels in Juba including James Hotel which is now being managed by his daughter. He is a shareholder in multi business companies. He has now revived his long time dead exclusive club in thongpiiny residential area. His children are moving with new model V6 and V8 Prado vehicles compared to the period that their father has spent in the office as a minister of finance and planning.
11.Diversion of public medical assistant funds to the closest relative and friends.
Your excellency, the minister of finance and planning Salvatore Garang has illegally diverted the medical assistance funds meant for the government officials to his relatives, and friends. Salvatore has been busy allocating medical refers and assistance to his family members and friends who are in good shape and physical aptness.
In conclusion, as you observe the above substantial arguments of the embezzlement of public wealth, awarding of illegal contracts with personal interest, giving of medical assistance funds to healthy persons who never felt sick is no longer unconstitutional act but the daily legally mandatory duty of Salvatore Garang Mabiordit in the office. The minister of finance and planning Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has totally messed up the ministry of finance and planning. It is so futile to maintain such a worthless human being in the government's souls like the ministry of finance and planning. He is attracting more enemies than friends to the government and for this reason, I am requesting you to relieve and drop him from your cabinet or seal his no return in formation of the upcoming Revitalize Government of National Unity in February.
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