Juba, February 13, 2019 (SSNA) — An investigation conducted by the UK-based Guardian newspaper reveals that nearly half of the funds allocated for the implementation of the September 2018 peace deal have been used to renovate homes of the current First Vice President Taban Deng Gai and late Dr. John Garang.
The paper says documents it obtained discloses that at least $135,000 dollars were approved by National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) in December 2018 and January 2019. The paper also reports that the deputy chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) Henry Odwar objected to the idea, but his concern was outvoted by the other members of the NPTC, which was formed to oversee the peace implementation and the management of funds designated for peace implementation.
In the report, South Sudan’s minister of cabinet affairs Martin Elia Lomuro claims that the decision to use peace deal money to renovate FVP Taban home and that of late Dr. Garang is stipulated in the agreement.
A senior government official who asked not to be named told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) in Juba that the report in the Guardian newspaper is troubling and that “the international community suspicion is now justified.”
“We have Troika countries refusing to fund the peace because they believe we are not committed to the peace. Now some corrupt elements influence members of the NPTC to give them money that is completely designated for peace implementation,” the official explains, adding, “The use of peace money by politicians is very wrong. The international community suspicion is now justified.”
The South Sudanese government has been calling on the international community to fund the peace deal. However, the Troika countries (the UK, Norway, and the US) all refused to fund the implementation process and declined to sign the agreement, saying the deal could well follow the fate of the 2015 agreement. Troika also questions the commitment of the parties to the conflict, asserting “they are not serious.”
There is also a widespread concern among South Sudanese that if the international community funds the agreement, the government could use the money for its other interests, not the peace. Some analysts have also urged the international community not to fund the implementation process, citing serious concerns about the agreement.
Last month, South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuey Lueth, accused Troika and the European Union (EU) of working against peace. The minister accused the two groups after they did not answer Juba’s call to fund the implementation of the pact.