By Isaac Vuni and James Gatdet Dak
January 26, 2008 (JUBA) – The Caucus of the Unity State’s members of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly in Juba today called on the Government of Southern Sudan to audit accounts of the state, accusing its governor of corruption.
In a press conference held on Sunday, the Unity State MPs headed by Benjamin Majak, Chairman of the Caucus in the Assembly said the Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai is responsible for the corruption in the state. They also demanded for removal of Governor Taban Gai Deng for failing to deliver services and development in the state.
The MPs also called on the President of the Government of Southern Sudan to reveal the report of the Ministerial Committee he formed last year to investigate the Governor on the alleged corruption charges. They expressed their disappointments over the delay of the report in the Presidency’s office.
“It is regrettable that the committee constituted by President Salva Kiir Mayardit in November 2007 to investigate the crises in the state delayed for four months thereafter went and spend two days with the Governor Taban without visiting counties of the state. Hence they ended up collecting one side story prepared by Governor Taban Gai Deng. Therefore, we are appealing to the government of southern Sudan to urgently address this issue by removing governor Taban and replace him with a developmental oriented person form among the sons and daughters of Unity state;” pleaded MP Peter Margue Thiep.
Majak described the recent attacks in the media by Governor Deng as an attempt to blackmail individuals to cover up his alleged corruption. He said that Deng’s attack on the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan was not fair.
In an interview with The Citizens newspaper, Governor Deng accused the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Riek Machar for allegedly “undermining his authority in the state.” Deng said the state traditional chiefs and members of Parliament were engineered by the Vice President to remove him from the state governorship.
Hon. Majak told journalists that the Governor has to blame himself for his corrupt practices. He said the state has since 2005 received over $122 million dollars as part of oil revenue sharing of two percent contrary to the figure of $60 million released by the Governor.
The state MPs also blame the Governor for over-employment in the State. “During the formation of the State government in 2005, the state inherited only 6,000 employees, but the Governor has employed 12, 000 more to total 18, 000,” MP Majak said.
Responding to question why Unity state is recruiting foreign teachers, mostly from Kenya, Majak explain that the recruitment exercise was hurriedly done lonely by Governor Taban even without consulting GoSS ministry of Education, Science and Technology for possibility of getting Southern Sudanese teachers from other states who are more qualified than Kenyan teachers. Nevertheless, the lawmakers pledged to exert pressure on state administration to reverse their decision because it’s costly to get teachers from outside the country.
He also claimed that the Governor has employed one hundred and fifty advisors contrary to only one hundred earlier admitted by Governor Deng in his interview with The Citizen news paper.
Unity State MP Puok Bol Mayamic said the Governor Taban has not contributed to the development of the state. Otherwise what Governor Taban termed his new development component in the state today are done by Khartoum government in collaboration with oil company operating in Unity state before signing of CPA in January 2005. But Governor Taban claimed to have constructed roads, schools and hospitals among others in the state from the time he took over state administration.
They accused Governor Taban Deng of running Unity State single-handedly, appointed 150 advisors at monthly pay of three million Sudanese pounds without consultation either with GoSS ministry of Finance or Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development; only at the expense of development funds yet the so called advisors are doing nothing. On serious note, where on earth a state governor has 150 advisors? , posed Hon. Majak
The Parliamentarians also accuse Governor Deng’s administration for marginalizing the minority Dinka community in the state by selecting mostly members of the Nuer community to represent the state in the State government in Bentiu, Government of Southern Sudan in Juba and Government of National Unity in Khartoum.
They also accuse him of misusing the two percent of oil revenue for the state to benefit him and approving unprocessed loans and grants to individuals in the state.