Juba — The newly-appointed Chairperson of South Sudan's Relief and Rehabilitation Commission on Wednesday detested corruption, describing it as an "evil practice".
Peter Lam Both made the remark at a reception marking his official take over as the new commissioner at the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. He replaced Duer Tut Duer, who was this month fired by presidential decree and accused of corruption, an allegation he denies.
Both served as minister of information in Upper Nile State until he was removed in a state reshuffle that saw his subsequent appointment into another high-level position at the Juba-based central government.
"The public funds must be used judiciously to meet the intended purposes. Personal gains should not be allowed to override common interest. When you go out you find that there are children on the street suffering a lot, they need food, they need medicine," Both said.
God would "not accept" him taking public funds and becoming rich in that situation, he said on Wednesday.
He assumed office at a time when the agriculture sector, the mainstay of the economy of the country is grappling with critical challenges. Erratic and poorly distributed rainfall in the 2011-2012 rainy season has resulted in a 70% drop in production, he said, leaving farming communities with insufficient food stocks to accompany them through the dry season.
His other main challenge is corruption, which has cost the young nation around $4 billion, according to a letter President Salva Kiir sent to 75 top officials asking them to return stolen funds.
Both has pledged to work together with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and partners to stamp out the practice.
Speaking at the same occasion, Joseph Lual Acuil, Minister of Humanitarian and Disaster Management pledged full support to the newly-appointed chairperson. He called on members of the National Assembly and attending politicians to extend helping hands with advice about how to deal with corruption.
"Help us before we become part of the 75 official accused of corruption. Help us with advice on what street says about us. Don't wait until we fall into a pit. It will be too late for us to be removed", Acuil told the audience at the reception for the new Chairperson of the of Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.
He warned the new chair to watch out for "shams" and take the national interest "seriously".
"This compound looks very good outside and looks different while inside because we have not made it more attractive. We want to turn things together so that we make this ministry a place where people can fight for entry not exit. We also need to consume our problems internally so that we turn them into solutions", said Acuil, describing the new chairperson as "a young person with talent to help him and employees of the ministry to move things together".
Jovana Luka Joseph, Deputy Chair of the Relief and Rehabilitation called for cooperation and coordination in order for the two institutions to move forward in accomplishing national assignments.
"We need to remove old shells and put new ones. Have new spirit, have new heart, have confident and love one another," said Mrs. Joseph
Clement Dominic, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management described appointment of the chairperson as a "blessing" because he is a young person with new ideas and energy to deliver.
"We should work together like the football fans by showing love", he said.