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MPs interrogate Lomuro over $10 million missing peace fund

By Bida Elly David

 

South Sudan National Assembly, on Thursday questioned Minister of Cabinet Affairs, over $10 million meant for peace implementation mechanisms.

The lawmakers grilled Martin Elia Lomuro on alleged disappearance of the peace funds.

According to Oyet Nathaniel Pierieno, the First Deputy Speaker, the House received petitions from the beneficiary institutions, including the National Constitutional Review Committee (NCRC), the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and the Judicial Reform Committee, regarding the controversial payment.

Lawmakers said the Ministry of Finance had allocated $30,000,000 to the relevant mechanisms, out of which the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs received $10,000,000.

The amount has not been transferred to the intended beneficiaries, MPs said.

Oyet also noted that the August House has all the necessary documents to prove the validity of the claims.

He explained that the TNLA had conducted consultations with relevant institutions, including the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and the Bank of South Sudan, to verify the credibility of the claims.

The financial report presented by Oyet revealed that on April 2nd, 2024, the Ministry of Finance and Fiscal Planning had authorized the Governor of the Central Bank to transfer $10 million into the account of the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs (account number 00269210001024) for “special projects.”

Oyet further added that on April 8th, 2024, an equivalent of 15,322,939,000 South Sudanese Pounds was deposited into the SSP account number 00269122001036 of the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs (General Secretariat), using the central bank’s buying rate of 1,532.2939 SSP/USD.

The TNLA argued that the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs had no mandate to claim the allocation meant for the peace implementation agencies, and the diversion of the funds was a clear violation of the Public Finance Management and Accountability Act of 2011.

“The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs has no authority to unilaterally divert funds meant for the aforementioned institutions and peace implementation Mechanisms as this contravenes financial regulations and the Public Financial Management Act,’’ he said.

However, in response to the accusations, Minister Lomuro denied the claim that $10 million had been diverted.

“Let us be sincere, this document is totally untrue, I never requested the sum of $10,000,000 from the Central Bank because this document will reach the hands of the public,” he said.

He challenged the lawmakers, stating that the document presented was “totally untrue” and that he had never requested such an amount from the Central Bank, as the document would eventually reach the public domain.

Lomuro urged the lawmakers not to believe the unverified document, warning that the document would circulate to the public with different results.

Following the inquiry, the Parliament recommended that the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs pay all allocations due to the beneficiaries and peace implementation mechanisms.

MPs further recommended that the Ministry of Finance pay every spending agency directly through an official account rather than through a third-party institution.

 

 

 

 

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