Tycoon with Ties to US, UK, and UAE Has Received Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Suspect Contracts, Imported Weapons, and Formed Business with a Ruthless Warlord
October 7, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) — An investigative report published today by The Sentry, “Al-Cardinal: South Sudan’s Original Oligarch” spotlights the business activities of Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali, widely known as Al-Cardinal, a Sudanese businessman who has mastered the art of doing business in a state riddled with corruption.
George Clooney, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “Al-Cardinal has built a corporate empire on the back of predatory business dealings in South Sudan. He now has business operations from Ethiopia to the United States and owns expensive real estate in places like London and Dubai. These international commercial activities mean that governments around the world have the tools to take action and impose meaningful consequences.”
J.R. Mailey, Director of Investigations at The Sentry, said: “Al-Cardinal has received hundreds of millions of dollars in payments from the government of South Sudan, but key details remain unknown to the public. The persistent lack of transparency opens the door for all sorts of fraud, waste and abuse. Without significant consequences, an environment of impunity prevails.”
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “International actors from around the world are complicit in looting and continued war in South Sudan. Al-Cardinal shows how this works in practice. He has been involved in a series of major corruption scandals, formed businesses with ruthless military commanders and imported weapons to South Sudan used to wage a horrific war.”
The new report is the second in The Sentry’s investigative report series “The Taking of South Sudan,” which launched this September, receiving widespread international media coverage. The U.S. State Department responded to the launch report with an official press release stating, “We will review the allegations cited in The Sentry report and will carefully consider the recommendations to strengthen efforts to end illicit financial flows to and from South Sudan.”
Sophie Lombardo, Researcher at The Sentry, said: “Major deficiencies in transparency and accountability frameworks have facilitated exploitation by predatory foreign investors and South Sudan’s ruling clique. Crucial information has been concealed from the public, oversight institutions obstructed and underfunded, and senior South Sudanese officials regularly sidestep laws designed to prevent conflicts of interest. Working within this system, Al-Cardinal has had nearly unrivaled success.”
The Sentry’s investigation found that Al-Cardinal, has exploited opaque procurement processes, weak oversight institutions and cozy relationships with Juba’s most powerful politicians to line his own pockets. Without concerted pressure from the international community, Al-Cardinal “will remain a major enabler of corruption and violence for President Salva Kiir’s government,” according to the report.
Al-Cardinal has been embroiled in major procurement scandals, set up private businesses with ruthless military generals, imported military equipment during a bloody civil war and even scored lucrative contracts linked to the implementation of the peace deal, according to the report.
Key findings in the report:
Key analysis in the report:
Major deficiencies in transparency and accountability frameworks have facilitated exploitation by predatory foreign investors and South Sudan’s ruling clique.
Key policy recommendations from the report:
The following measures, if implemented, would hold kleptocrats accountable and encourage good governance in South Sudan as well as stem the type of conduct described in this report:
Read the full report “Al Cardinal: South Sudan’s Original Oligarch”: https://eno.ug/al-cardinal
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ABOUT THE SENTRY
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals.
Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.