As Nation Faces COVID-19 with Corruption-Gutted Healthcare System:
May 27, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) – As the Covid-19 pandemic hits hard across Africa and billions of dollars are being deployed in response, a new report published today by The Sentry raises red flags on risks of major corruption and money laundering by high ranking military leaders in South Sudan, a country with more generals than doctors.
The Sentry’s report, “Making a Killing: South Sudanese Military Leaders’ Wealth, Explained,” reveals that South Sudan’s last four army chiefs of staff, four of the highest-ranking military leaders, and three opposition militia leaders engaged in business activities demonstrating red flags for money laundering and corruption. The report comes as South Sudan faces a first wave of COVID-19 cases with medical infrastructure and response capacities already stressed by civil war and weakened by corruption that has benefitted military officials and top political leaders.
Shannon Mizzi, Investigator at The Sentry, said: “Many of South Sudan’s senior military leaders have amassed enormous wealth. Their posts provided easy access to government funds that appear to have financed luxurious lifestyles for relatives overseas in some instances, instead of desperately needed infrastructure, economic development, education, and health services at home. South Sudan’s security sector desperately needs major reforms promoting transparency, oversight, and anti-corruption measures, both to stop diversion of public funds and to prevent the conflict from reigniting.”
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “With three times as many generals as physicians, South Sudan’s medical system is completely unprepared for COVID-19. In South Sudan, service infrastructure has been gutted by the greed-fueled schemes of its leaders and their international business networks. The impact of ongoing corruption and money laundering will be even more devastating if left unchecked.”
The Sentry’s investigative report examines the commercial and financial activities of former Army Chiefs of Staff Gabriel Jok Riak, James Hoth Mai, Paul Malong Awan, and Oyay Deng Ajak, along with top-ranking military chiefs Salva Mathok Gengdit, Bol Akot Bol, Garang Mabil, and Marial Chanuong. Militia leaders linked to major instances of violence both before and during the civil war — Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang, Johnson Olony, and David Yau Yau — are also profiled in the report.
J.R. Mailey, Director of Investigations at The Sentry, said: “To help protect funds and resources meant for pandemic response, we have all the tools at the ready including network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, asset seizure and recovery, and domestic and international investigations. A proactive response now by the international community—especially the African Union, European Union, United Nations, United Kingdom, and United States—will help ensure that billions of dollars deployed to counter the pandemic don’t simply vanish into offshore accounts and luxury real estate abroad.”
The formation in South Sudan of a power-sharing government in February 2020 marks a significant step in the peace process. However, the nation still faces a long road to becoming a stable, prosperous country. The new report is part of a series of investigations by The Sentry detailing corruption pervading nearly every major economic sector, linked to the highest levels of power and international profiteering networks.
Selected highlights from the report
The report details recommended actions to hold corrupt military leaders accountable and develop a pathway out of kleptocracy:
Read the full report “Making a Killing”: https://thesentry.org/reports/
For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, firstname.lastname@example.org
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. 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. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a flagship initiative and strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.