Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned three major South Sudanese leaders, placing Deputy Chief of Defense Staff Lieutenant General Malek Reuben Riak, General Paul Malong, and Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth, as well as three companies linked to them on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) also issued an advisory to financial institutions, which should trigger new investigations and filing of additional suspicious activity reports that can lead to further action.
Recent reports by The Sentry, an investigative initiative co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, revealed that South Sudan’s top officials and armed group leaders, including those individuals sanctioned today, have amassed and offshored millions of dollars through an array of questionable business enterprises while fueling conflict and atrocities in one of the world’s deadliest war zones.
Experts from the Enough Project and The Sentry are available for comment and analysis.
John Prendergast, Co-founder of The Sentry and Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “The actions taken today are critical steps forward. But much more must be done. Individual sanctions are inadequate in the face of the violent kleptocratic system that has been assembled under President Kiir’s administration. The only way to impact the calculations of those doing irreparable damage to the world’s newest country is to impose network sanctions on the leadership of the government and rebels and their commercial collaborators, both domestic and international. These network sanctions should be combined with aggressive anti-money laundering initiatives to really undermine their ability to move illicit finances through the international banking system. No peace effort has a chance of succeeding until a serious cost has been imposed on those who are profiting from war both financially and politically.”
Brian Adeba, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “This is an important step that addresses the impunity and intransigence of those who perpetuate war in South Sudan. It is imperative that the U.S and the international community push to ensure that these financial pressures are enforced in order to elevate the chances of peace to reign in South Sudan.”
Debra LaPrevotte, Senior Investigator at The Sentry, said, “Today’s action by the U.S. government is a welcome step to address the grand corruption The Sentry investigations have helped bring to light. The illicit financial dealings of those responsible for the suffering in South Sudan mirror the methods used by kleptocratic leaders in other countries, including places like Ukraine and Malaysia, where the U.S. government has helped to recover billions in stolen wealth. The Sentry will continue to follow the assets of South Sudanese leaders and work to ensure strong action is taken.”
Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak is Deputy Chief of Defense Staff and Inspector General of the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Gen. Malong is former Chief of Staff of the SPLA, dismissed as chief by President Salva Kiir in May this year. Michael Makuei Lueth is South Sudan’s Information Minister.
The companies listed by OFAC are A+ Engineering, Electronics & Media Printing Co. Ltd, All Energy Investments Ltd, and Mak International Services Co. Ltd.
Read The Sentry’s investigative reports:
About THE SENTRY
The Sentry is a team of policy analysts, regional experts, and financial forensic investigators that follows the money in order to create consequences for those funding and profiting from genocide or other mass atrocities in Africa, and to build leverage for peace. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch (NOOW), with investigative support from the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS). The Sentry currently focuses on the corrupt transnational networks linked to those most responsible for deadly violence in South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.
About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.