Commemorating International Anti-Corruption Day at the Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba yesterday, Southern Sudan launched a five-year anti-corruption strategy for 2010-2014.
The strategy was a roadmap developed in participatory consultation with stakeholders in the government, private sector and civil society.
Speaking to the gathering, Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission Pauline Riak said, “Corruption is a serious world-wide problem, it is neither peculiar to Southern Sudan nor is Southern Sudan a corruption-free zone.”
“There are public perceptions that corruption is prevalent in Southern Sudan these perceptions are not completely unfounded,” she added.
The Anti-Corruption Commission was formed in 2007 as an independent wing of the Government to combat public graft in Southern Sudan. Although the Anti-Corruption Act was passed by the parliament in March, it is not yet signed.
“Corruption is a huge monster that inflicts a lot of harm to the people emerging from war like Southern Sudan, and fighting it is big challenge,” Riak noted, adding that with international support and determination from Southern Sudanese people, corruption could be successfully combated.
Governor of Lakes States Daniel Awet Akot said, “We accepted corruption is an enemy but what we say is not what we do. We have won the battle for freedom but we replaced it with corruption.”
Shortly after forming the Anti-Corruption Commission, President of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir declared zero tolerance for corruption. Such an attitude is crucial for Southern Sudan, which faces enormous challenges in various areas, including health, education and infrastructure development.
“Our president has given the Commission powers to prosecute those involved in corruption. The launch of this strategy today is a step forward,” said Awut Deng Achuil, Minister of Labour in the Government of Southern Sudan.
The celebration was attended by Government of Southern Sudan ministers, governors, commission chairpersons, representatives from the UN family, non-governmental organizations, international and diplomatic community and students.