National, News

“BLACK MARKET” money dealers on target-Police

By Kidega Livingstone

A crackdown on illegal foreign exchange “black market” currency dealers is eminent in Juba amid rising US dollar rate against the South Sudanese pound.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Atem Marol Biar has vowed to revamp the exercise which started last month.

Last month, Central Equatoria State governor, Emmanuel Adil Anthony, issued a standing order for closure of all unregistered money exchange businesses in the markets and streets of Juba.

At the initial enforcement of the order by Organized Security Forces, some black-market dealers were arrested, leading to drop on Dollar rates.

The exchange rates at the parallel markets dropped from over SSP 2500 over 1 USD to below SSP 1600 per 1 USD.

However, the dollar has started appreciating against the pounds, with 100 USD now trading at SSP 220,000 when selling and buying at SSP 230,000 in the parallel market as of Wednesday.

Police Chief Gen. Biar told journalists that he is organizing security personnel to continue with the crackdown operation against the illegal money traders largely blamed for speculating the foreign exchange market.

“I want to assure you that we are going to continue with the work and investigate those who are still selling the dollars on the streets (black market),” said Gen. Biar.

He stated that there are some dollar dealers who are not abiding by the standing order of the governor.

“There are some people who are very happy when the dollar rates go up for their own benefit, but what we are going to do is go with the interest of the people,” he expressed.

The police boss, however, declined to disclose to the media when the security forces would hunt down the black-market money men.

“We cannot tell you when we’re going to start because the operation is like any other operation,” Biar responded to the journalist’s query.

He stressed that the operation against the US dollar dealer shall stop only when the pounds have gained strength against the dollars.

“I am asking those who are selling the dollars in the black market, and the price is still very high, like today [Wednesday], it has to come down before we interfere with them. If they are waiting for us, they will see,” Gen. Biar warned.

He emphasized that they don’t want people to continue suffering, especially ordinary citizens.

“When we were doing the operation against the dollar dealers, there were so many issues from some of the people who are not even responsible; they want us to continue with the situation like this,” he asked.

According to the IGP, the suspects once nabbed will have to face the brunt of the laws of the country, adding that those arrested in the previous operation have a case opened against them and they will be arraigned in court.

He stated that suspects found in possession of a large sum of money were told to open a bank account and deposit the money while court proceedings continued.

“Those selling dollars have some big people behind them; the cases have been opened against them; some of the suspects were living with over 700,000 dollars in their houses, and they were advised to open the account,” Gen. Biar disclosed.

The police chief further stated that they were tipped about some of the suspects they arrested during the last operation for buying pounds from the markets and herding the money in their houses.

He added that a case was also opened against the suspects, and they await a hearing.

“The other problem is that there are some people who herd the South Sudanese pounds; they collect the pounds from the markets and store them. They will tell us in court the reason why they’re storing the money; they’ll have to explain,” Biar stated.

The police chief describes those suspects as people who have their own agendas in the country.
Early this month, the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS), Dr. James Alic Garang, declared a total crackdown on unlicensed street money exchangers.

The directives were issued in an attempt to enforce strict regulations and eliminate illegal foreign exchange trading in the black market.

Announcing the order during a press conference, Dr. Garang reiterated his commitment to eradicating those unauthorized operators and reinforcing the importance of operating within the legal framework.

The central bank boss urged the police, both at the state and national levels, to fully participate in enforcing the crackdown exercise without Favour or compromise.

He further underscored the need for other public sector institutions, including citizens, to ensure the effectiveness of the directives.

According to the Foreign Exchange Business Act 2012 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Act 2012, it is illegal to deal in forex trading without a valid license from the Central Bank.

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