Town Mayor, deputy arrested for swindling sorghum

Handcuffs photo: courtesy

By William Madouk Garang

The Town Mayor of Majok Yinthiou Municipality in Aweil East County with his deputy were detained Friday on suspicion of selling sorghum (Dura) meant to subsidize food commodity prices and salvage the livelihood of ordinary citizens in Aweil.

The Police in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State had confirmed that the suspects, Reech Matem and Deng Mangeth were arrested after their immunities had been lifted by the State authority and investigations are ongoing.

Criminal cases opened against them are sections 351, 346, 124 and 84 of South Sudan Penal Code Act, 2008.

Captain Guot Guot Akol, the State police spokesperson confirmed the arrest of the two accused town council officials to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, adding that the arrest was made after due processes were done.

“Of course, the case was opened on 20th after the police gathered all relevant information and it was confirmed that he was the one who sold the “Dura” (Sorghum) to one trader,” Akol told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Tuesday.

“After confirmation, the police wrote to the public persecutor and the public prosecutor also wrote to the State authority to lift the immunity, and his immunity was lifted on 21st and on 22nd he was arrested,” he added.

Akol said price increases in markets have crucified ordinary citizens in the State and that prompted the State authority to import sorghum to ease the burden but it was very sad some people contribute to citizens’ miseries.

“It is unfortunate that few people also in the government are participating in the suffering of the citizens,” he lamented.

“Our mandate is to make sure that citizens get these Dura at the price that government said should be sold,” he vowed.

Meanwhile, the police spokesperson added that the suspects could be liable to bail pending investigation and the case filed to be transferred to the court.

The Police stated that they are following up the distributions to ensure that the Sorghum purchased by the government reach the vulnerable people at affordable prices adding that no other arrests were made apart from the two suspects.

However, a source whose identity remains anonymous, said the arrest of two suspects is an addition to 6 government officials who were arrested in Wanjok in regards to the same matter.

Unconfirmed information revealed that those also arrested are in the administration department along with other officials in Aweil East County of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

One resident in Aweil whose name is withheld for sensitivity of the matter told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that there is high corruption by government officials and little was done to hold them accountable.

“According to directives one person is supposed to buy only 5 tins (malwa) of sorghum grains at SSP 550 but government officials can even buy like 5 to 10 sacks of Dura or more” said the anonymous source.

The source said according to information they obtained each county was supposed to have 400 sacks of sorghum but other counties received as less as 250 sacks only.

70 trucks consignment

A delegation headed by Tut Gatluak Manime Presidential Advisory for Security Affairs including governor Akeen was assigned by President Salva Kiir to purchase Dura to tame the wild market.

On June 2022, a consignment of 70 trucks fully loaded with Sorghum from Sudan’s Sennar and Northern Kordofan States respectively arrived at Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, Aweil.

The State authorities in Aweil said the food grain was to tame the skyrocketing prices of Dura in the markets which have affected the low income families in the State.

The Press secretary in the office of Governor Tong Akeen noted that the consignment was to normalize the livelihood of common citizens in worse flood-hit States of Warrap, Unity and Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

“Those goods will be sold through the subsidy as one sack of sorghum is SSP 20,000 then State government will determine her price such that the common person can be able to buy something in the market with affordable price,”

Following the visit of Gatluak’s delegation, officials from the two countries announced the reopening of the Nile River transport system.

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