By William Madouk Garang
The South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission (SSAC) has stated that scarce funds and weaker legal framework are factors that frustrate the battle against corruption in the country.
The Commissioner of SSAC, Christina Henry Jada highlighted that the anti-graft commission faces multiple challenges such as inadequate funds and needs urgent enactment of legislation to enable them perform their mandates.
“The main challenges obstructing the whole of SSAC are fundamentally structural and of operational nature – these are represented in the commission’s long standing inadequate legal framework as we know that the 2009 Act is very shallow – it doesn’t give or allow SSAC to fight corruption widely,” said MS. Jada.
“Although the constitution has given the commission prosecutorial power, this has yet to be enacted into law. The establishment of 2009 Act of the commission has a limited scope to effectively combating corruption,” she continued.
She lamented that absence of funds has impeded the activities of the commission, asserting that their office was shut down by the landlord for not paying the dues.
Ms. Jada cited that draft bill is now being reviewed by the Ministry of Justice, who will present it to the Council of Ministers and to the parliament for final appraisal, she expressed her optimism that the bill could be law in the nearest future.
“Given the support we received from the presidency and the parliament, we believe that the bill could become the law very soon,”
For his part, the first deputy speaker of National parliament, Nathaniel Oyet Pierino during the global Anti-corruption day, said the drawbacks in the 2009 Anti-corruption Act must be removed to correspond with the constitution.
“The legal framework of the Anti-corruption Act is under review, we must remove the complications between the act and the constitution,” said Pierino.
The Lawmaker said the 2009 anti-corruption act gives powers but failed to provide prosecutorial powers which made it hard for the Anti-Corruption Commission to execute their mandates.
“I would like to reiterate our support as a parliament to the commission we passed the budget and we have made small increment, we have also asked the Ministry of Finance to disburse the funds to the commission as soon as possible,” the first Deputy Speaker stressed.
“We know the commission alone cannot do anything as the war against is a holistic movement – the battle cannot be won by the commission, the battle can only be won together with other entities of the government,” he added.
The South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission is a body mandated by the Interim Constitution to investigate cases of corruption in the public and private sector to help in combating administrative malpractices in public institutions.
Transparency International ranked South Sudan as the world most corrupted country; it’s rated number 180 out of 180 countries in its January 2022 report.
According to the report, South Sudan has continued to maintain the position for years, without any alleged case of corruption tried despite several report by Audit Chamber implicating some officials of pocketing 3 percent for oil field communities.