CES Marks International Anti-Corruption Day

Authorities in Central Equatoria State, (CES) yesterday joined the world in commemorating the Global Anti-Corruption Day under the theme “zero tolerance for corruption in the Republic of South Sudan.”

CES Marks International Anti-Corruption Day
Students from various schools curtain raise the event by singing the national anthem [©Gurtong]

By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 10th December 2011 [Gurtong] - Authorities in Central Equatoria State, (CES) yesterday joined the world in commemorating the Global Anti-Corruption Day under the theme “zero tolerance for corruption in the Republic of South Sudan.”

Organized by the CES Anti-Corruption Office, the function was attended by the State executive, legislative and the judiciary bodies. Other attendees were the senior staff of the South Sudan Anti Corruption Commission, (SSACC), civil society activists and students.

The delegates were colourfully entertained with music and drama as performed by Juba Girls and Day secondary students while passing messages on the fight against corruption. The messages advocated against misuse of public property for personal benefits, employment should be on the basis of merits but not nepotism.

They condemned ministers who use public resources luxuriously, luring young girls into immorality just for money, employing relatives instead of qualified personnel and using assassins to oust leaders who are innocent.

Justice John Gatwitch, the newly appointed SSACC’s Chairperson who addressed the public function for the first time since his appointment said that his commitment to implement the Commissions’ Strategic Plan aimed to keep South Sudan free from corruption.

He said the SSACC’s strategic plan 2010-2014 among other targets aimed to prevent corruption, recover assets and provision of technical assistance against corruption.

Gatwitch who is a lawyer by profession is a decorated law expert at the Supreme and Constitutional courts in South Sudan vowed to improve and achieve the expectations of the Commission. “We will not go after individuals but facts whether small or big fish, we only need your full cooperation and support,” Gatwitch said.

He warned the public servants against the vice. “In our new nation, no one should loot public property, it’s evil, immoral, bad and disgraceful,” Gatwich warned.

He pointed out that, the SSACC’s 2010/14 strategic plan aims to promote partnership among stakeholders in fighting corruption, investigate and prosecute individuals who are involved in corruption, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the SSACC’s Strategy and Action Plan through prevention of corruption.

Gatwich also pointed out that, the Commission is almost finalizing a new bill and soon will be presented to the South Sudan Ministry of Justice for some legal scrutiny for the Council of Ministers to deliberate on and send it to the legislative assembly to be enacted.

He said the 2009 SSACC’s Act lacks many clauses that limit the powers of the Commission in effecting some of its activities in many areas. For example the 2009 Act lacks the powers for the Commission to prosecute a corruption suspect.

He also mentioned that, the Commission is now an observer of the East African Association of Anti Corruption Authorities, (EAAACA) and will soon join the Association in order to advance their working ideas.

Meanwhile the CES Deputy Governor Hon. Manaseh Lomole who was the Chief Guest at the function congratulated the stakeholders for their collective efforts in gracing the day.

He called on the empowered State and National institutions to honestly commit themselves in combating corruption.
 
“Even the legal fraternity is not an exception because cases are delayed and people are ultimately tempted to bribe for their cases to be withdrawn,” Lomole said.

Lomole alluded to the Arab spring crisis that occurred as a result of the failure to fight against corruption.“Today we are aware of what the media is telling us about the crisis in the Arab world. When you examine the source, most of them are connected to the outcry of the people because of lack of democracy and corrupt leadership. We have to learn from that because if anything happens, and the people become very angry, we who are sitting on these chairs are going to be the first targets.” Lomole assured the delegates.

On 31 October 2003, the United Nations General Assembly designated 9th December as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it.  The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

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