Home | News    Saturday 12 November 2011

South Sudan president replaces head of anti-corruption commission


November 11, 2011 (JUBA) – The President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has fired the head of the anti-corruption commission, Pauline Riak, and replaced her with a judge from the Supreme Court.

Dr. Pauline Riak, chairperson of Southern Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission from 2006 until November 2011 (ST)

In a move that appears to be an attempt to improve South Sudan’s poor track record at fighting corruption, President Kiir on Friday issued a presidential decree relieving the chairperson of the South Sudan anti-corruption commission and replacing her with Judge John Gatwech Lul.

Until his appointment, Gatwech was member of the Supreme Court of South Sudan. He was also one of the nine judges that served in the constitutional court in Khartoum before South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July.

The outgoing anti-corruption chief, Pauline Riak headed the commission since 2006 but no government official has been prosecuted for corruption. Kiir also reshuffled the chairpersons of commissions and independent bodies as well as undersecretaries in the ministries.

The president announced in September through his deputy, Riek Machar, that he was committed to ensuring that South Sudan “enters a new era of good governance, democracy, accountability and transparency.”

The new head of South Sudan’s Anti Corruption Commission (SSACC) will have a lot of work on his desk.

Probably at the top of Gatwech’s in-tray is the ongoing $2 billion grain scandal. Numerous fake businesses are believed to have been paid for grain and to build grain stores. Only 46 of the 90 grain stores planned in the project were built.

The South Sudanese Students Union (SSSU) in Kampala, an umbrella organisation of college and university students in Uganda, said earlier this year that many students will not be able to complete their studies due to funds allocated to them going missing.

The chairman of the group, Abraham Thon, has asked for an investigation claiming the funds had "disappeared between the ministry of finance and minister of higher education."


In August MP’s initially refused to approve South Sudan’s first cabinet as an independent country, demanding that Kiir release the names of a list of 13 ministers suspected of being involved in corruption.

South Sudanese MPs stand during a parliamentary session in Juba on August 31, 2011 where the ruling party used its huge majority to approve a new cabinet over opposition objections that the number of ministers was beyond the means of the world’s newest nation (AFP)

However, despite their reservations MPs from the ruling SPLM, caved in under pressure from their party and approved the new cabinet despite suspecting that corrupt ministers may be among them.

The list of corrupt officials was handed to South Sudanese authorities by the US.
It is believed to include officials with excessively large accounts in foreign banks.

Many ministers from the previous government remain in the current cabinet.


This is not the first time Kiir has shuffled and re-arranged the SSACC.

In 2009 Kiir upgraded the anti-corruption commission to the status above that of a ministry. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir had previously promised that the anti-graft commission would be granted the power to prosecute but it is yet to be brought into law.

However, the appointment of Gatwech, a judge, may signal that this is about to change. The power to prosecute continues to be in the hands of the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development.

No official has ever been prosecuted for involvement in corrupt practices since the establishment of the SSACC five years ago.

In September the SSACC released a report stating that it was investigating some 60 cases of corruption and was trying to recover more than SSP 120 million (approx. $20 million).

The report to the surprise of many, including Paul Akol MP, made no reference to the list of 13 top officials.


In April this year, shortly before South Sudan’s independence declaration in July, key donor countries warned, through the joint donor team (JDT), that Juba had to ensure future development aid was not mismanagement.

Michael Elmquist, the head of the joint donor team (JDT) to South Sudan, in Juba. April 12, 2011 (ST)

“Our mandate as joint donors is to provide technical and financial support to the southern government. However, we strongly feel that development aid allocated for specific purposes should not be wasted in corruption related practices,” Michael Elmquist, head of the JDT said.

A delegation from the European Union in July, told Juba that the fight against corruption in South Sudan will only be meaningful if the country’s parliamentarians adopt a tough and comprehensive approach towards ending it.

In 2010 the corruption perception index of Transparency International ranked Sudan as the seventh most corrupt country in the world.

Ever since the Government of South Sudan was formed as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement it has been blighted by accusations of corruption. Since a referendum in January granted South Sudan independence donors, the media and the public have begun to take a harder line on corruption.


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 12 November 2011 07:10, by Chier Akueny

    Actually, lack of achievement always with starts from Kiir Mayardit. So, some people are just losing their jobs but they are not supposed to be suspended because the lack of aims and the beginning of corruption is directly from President himself. South Sudan will be better when Kiir is also dismissed and get another one who can do better to satisfy citizens’ ambitions. No needs of empty promise.

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    • 12 November 2011 13:28, by SSLA supporter

      SPLA/M irresponsible and irrational policies that led to the apportionment of foreigners such as Pauline Riek, Deng Alor’s Ethiopian whore called wife, Kiir’s Ethiopian Mule called son-in-law etc in those sensitive and supreme positions in RoSS, just to replace qualified Southerners have to be revisited before this vulnerable country is taken over by the foreigners.........

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      • 12 November 2011 13:58, by SSLA supporter

        Foreigners who are pouring into RoSS now exploiting SPLA/M lack of nationalism!! Yes! We need investors but not exploiters whose aims are to take full advantage of the widespread poverty and illiteracy among our people of RoSS to occupy vacancies and businesses that can be filled by the locals if trained and funded!let us curve the flow of those opportunist foreigners otherwise we will regret it.

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    • 12 November 2011 20:09, by south boy

      kiir have No right to change or to replace head of anti-corruption because kiir himself is a corrupted leader,he batter start it by changing himself, and act like presidend.

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  • 12 November 2011 07:14, by Akumadit

    President Kiir will fires every female ministers and head of commission since his concubine Awuor Achuil is no long there in the cabinet.

    Mr. President please notice there is eminent threat from community X to push u down from the leadership. Be careful when u appointed them to your cabinet. There is eminent conspiracy against your leadership there juba. To avoid that Riek Machar must be fired

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    • 12 November 2011 07:40, by Zeki


      That is insighting, Kiir is not against female he is setting your ROSS such that you can be ok, free from corrupt leaders.
      Dr.Riak has no problems with president is allso very competent to be a president.

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    • 12 November 2011 08:13, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      Your are right but you should know that bring in those people like Gatwech is another way of getting rid of Riek Machar because him Gatwech will accause Riek with corruption soon.
      Riek machar is the mose corrupted evil in south sudan.When i want to Europe with Kiir Mayardit the European union warn us about him. [riek] and we know what to do with him,

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    • 12 November 2011 08:16, by Kur William

      Please try to respect people personality,you don`t have to called Awut Deng Acuil a concubine,she is married mother and also Kirr himself is family man despite being president you shouldn`t said this word.

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    • 12 November 2011 10:27, by Peter Nhiany

      Akumadit, I quite don’t think That President Kiir has anything to do with gender related leadership. He will fire who does not work for his interest and the interest of his close friends. Watch, if Gatwech does not comply with his ways of doing things, he will be relieved soon from his duties. How many times Beny Kiir dimissed ministers and nothing improved.

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  • 12 November 2011 07:45, by Diu J.Kuek

    Congratulation To President for replaced head of South Sudan anti-corruption Mrs Pauline Riak was been in that post since 2006 never show to the Nation as is fighting for corruption.Pauline should be clear to the people of South Sudan that there is no provision in our constitution to give her power to proscute and fight for corruption otherwise Justice Gatwech will follow the same track of P. Riak

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    • 12 November 2011 08:20, by Diu J.Kuek

      For the case to end this corruption in South Sudan there should be Article within our constitution that will deal with provision regarding this corruption and be pass by the both Houses of parliament thereafter represent to the President to hss assent and brought into Law the Chairperson will able to discharge his/her duty by this good Governance,Democracy,Accountability and Transparancy.may work.

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      • 12 November 2011 10:31, by Peter Nhiany

        Brother Mr. Kuek, you are right but the government of our President Kiir with his boys will not pass any law that will work against their will and interest. They know it, but they can not just do it until they satisfy themselves.

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    • 12 November 2011 11:48, by Nyamleldit

      I think replacing Dr.Pauline will not change anything. Kiir himself is among the list of corruptors though he appointed judge he President Kiir is above the law in South Sudan. For to progress will there should be law and guideline like Act to dread innocent people. Now soldiers are suffering and yet are the one defending the country.

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  • 12 November 2011 07:53, by Peter Nhiany

    Whatever strategy Mr.President and Ethiopian father in-law is taking to do deal with corruption doesnt satisfy the South Sudanese people.People are afraid to speak up to make their voices heard about what is not right in their nation. Kiir is not competent enough to be our leader but we got no choice since he entered into the office automatically. Let us face it whether we like him or not.

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    • 12 November 2011 08:07, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      You stupid called Nyiany ya ngo nyiany ye lil? you are eligable to arrested too, what is wrong with Eiothian getting married to Sudanse Girl? hoplessness will not going to lat you free.
      Death to you

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      • 12 November 2011 10:09, by Peter Nhiany

        Dinka Dominated, I’m not going to pick up a fight with you my friend. You are completely a messed up human being.Look at how you writes before you commence to criticize me. I’m not going to feed into your childish irresponsible behavior because you do not make professional commentaries. You sound too emotional because you think Pres. Kiir will give you dish washing position at his house.

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  • 12 November 2011 09:13, by Akumadit

    Mr. Dinka Dominated SPLA\M,

    We south Sudanese are not much concern about who Mr. President’s daughter married to. Don’t be surprise in the future when Mr. President will issue a decree relieving one of the South Sudan federal minister and replacing him/her with his son in-law from ethiopia. President Kiir security is what concern most of us.


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    • 12 November 2011 10:15, by Peter Nhiany

      Thank you brother Akumadit. That is the point I was trying to make and this ID10T(idiot) calls Dinka Dominated did not understand due to his lack of mature brain. I made a comment last when the article about Nyan Beny was published that our Presidetn will in the future sell our land to foreign nation and care less about it. H e attack my integrity shamelessly without even writing my name right.

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    • 14 November 2011 08:12, by Liberal

      Dear Akumadit,
      thanks for your comment. you are truly sober minded human being with an outstanding qualities and great potentials.

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  • 12 November 2011 09:15, by Akumadit

    Thank you

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    • 12 November 2011 10:19, by Peter Nhiany

      You are most welcome my dear. People like Dinak Dominated just say whatever comes in their mind without thinking of the general public. I do not know where they taught him to communicate in such a negative offensive manner. He should self discipline.

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    • 12 November 2011 10:45, by maduel Anok

      President’s new initiative relieve Dr. pauliine Riak is a welcoming development but does not justify the fight against corruption a genuine.

      First we need to empower anti-graft commission the power to prosecute. The ministry of legal affairs needs to be tough to support the fight against this endemic war. Relieving a person doesn’t justify eradication of corruption. Think big presidt.

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  • 12 November 2011 11:07, by Good Citizen

    this is a good move Mr.president.let’s try Mr. Gatwech, may be he do something to this situation.as always said, prevention is better than cure, the system should strive to prevent occurence of corruption ,not waiting for corruption to take place and begin making some bogus investigations.always evidences to prove a corruption acts in a court is very difficult, so prevention is better. prevention!

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  • 12 November 2011 12:15, by Murle Intellectual

    Two things are needed to successfully fight and defeat corruption. One, political will from the president and those around him to fight corruption. Two, a powerful patriotic parliament members who are not looters of peoples’ money. But those gangs on power now are busy looting and stealing SSR money

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  • 12 November 2011 12:39, by Good Citizen

    one of the crucial preventive procedure is to ensure that COMPUTERS ARE USED by QUALIFIED STAFF, in ALL administrative and Financial procedures.ALL departments, commissions, must have strong internet connectivity and regular independent external and internal auditing of financial records.no off the book records!or keeping monies under the pillows/beds in houses.all employees must have bank account

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  • 12 November 2011 14:57, by Lokeji

    Mr president, the removal of Dr. pauline is not a solution to the SSACC shortfalls but rather there is a need for your excellency and the parliament to strengthen the SSACC by rendering it more powers.it’s unreasonable and irrational to take toothless dog for hunting, hence you need to equip judge john gatwech with enough powers to deal with this rampant corruption

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  • 12 November 2011 23:02, by David Mayen Deng

    A good step to the right direction by President Kiir. I always thought that that woman, Paulino Riak, was not going to do anything about corruption in our country. I was driven into that conclusion by a question that lead me to an intuitive answer every time I tried to give her benefit of doubt. My question has always been: why would any foreigner die in South Sudan because of trying to destroy s

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    • 12 November 2011 23:09, by David Mayen Deng

      Connecsome corrupt Ministers’ political carrier? The answer has inevitably been, they wouldn’t do it in a thousand years, irrespective of their personal honesty. Dr. Paulina looks to be a good qualified woman, but chairing the Anti-Corruption Commission was a very risky task to give to a foreigner. This position needs a man (not even a woman, but a man) with strong character and community support.

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  • 12 November 2011 23:02, by David Mayen Deng

    It is a position whose occupier should fear no corrupt politician or civil servant. From my very brief personal conversation last year with Justice Gatwich- he wouldn’t even remember I am sure- on the legal process and accountability in South Sudan, I strongly believe that he is the right man with the right qualification and sense of patriotism to lead South Sudan’s crusade against corruption. It

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    • 12 November 2011 23:11, by David Mayen Deng

      It is really a shame that we are the 7th most corrupt nation state in the world, even before we made seven months as an independent state. All in all, Justice Gatwich will need complete support from President Kiir if he should be expected to weed out corruption. So many great men to whom the nation is eternally grateful will fail the test if he really does his work to the best of his ability and i

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      • 12 November 2011 23:12, by David Mayen Deng

        and intentions. So many freedom fighters will fall- which is sad. I don’t know whether it is necessary.

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  • 12 November 2011 23:03, by David Mayen Deng

    In order to avoid that national great disappointment, Justice Gatwich should open a bank account only known to him and the president, and ask Ministers and civil servants to refund public funds in three months in return for anonymity. They can just ask their bank to send money into that account without indicating their names. This way we will have a win-win situation- i.e. getting our money back

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  • 12 November 2011 23:04, by David Mayen Deng

    for building schools and clinic+ having historic figures for posterity’s sake. Otherwise, they stood to take responsibility for their shame.
    Allow me to share a quick humorous anecdote : One day a colleague visited me in my office in Juba. We talked about corruption, and my opinion was that ALL corrupt politicians and civil servants (like myself) should be held accountable for public funds. “My f

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  • 12 November 2011 23:06, by David Mayen Deng

    “My friend”, he said, “this issue of corruption should be left untouched, otherwise we and the Nuer will not have anybody in government.” By” we” he meant Dinka. So, the biggest hurdles to Justice Gatwiche’s work will be these two communities because they have the most corrupt individuals in government.
    No offense, I am Monyjang too, and I believe that our culture has changed over time. Corrupt

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  • 12 November 2011 23:07, by David Mayen Deng

    Corruption is no longer an evil thing, since corrupt people are still called Banj- especially in our poverty stricken region where money, no matter how you get it, is power. This new culture must be forced to change too.

    Mayen D.M.A. Ayarbior

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