15 January 2013

Sudan Justice Minister Threatens Officials Over Non-Submission of Financial Disclosure Forms

Khartoum — The Sudanese justice minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa vowed to criminally prosecute constitutional post-holders who fail to file their financial disclosure forms unless they show good cause for not doing so.

Dousa directed the 'Unlawful and Suspicious Enrichment' prosecutorial division to start proceedings against officials who fall under this category and are not responsive to requests in this regard.

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir issued a decree last week which establishes a committee headed by Dousa that would review financial disclosure forms for constitutional post-holders to ensure its accuracy and consistency.

Dousa said he will recuse himself from chairing the committee in the next meeting in order to submit his own financial disclosure forms.

The justice minister acknowledged that some unnamed officials did not comply with this requirement in 2011. He pledged that the filings will be intensely scrutinized and additional documents may be requested if necessary.

The country's attorney general disclosed that the ministry is considering launching a website that would allow ordinary citizens to provide tips on individuals suspected of accumulating wealth illegally. But Dousa stressed that whistleblowers must provide some proof to back up their claims before they will investigate.

The issue of corruption within government ranks has been hotly debated throughout the years but officials in Khartoum routinely dismiss these allegations insisting that is virtually non-existent and exaggerated.

But reports of Sudan's Inspector General as recent as last year highlight hundreds of cases of improper financial dealings including embezzlement within government agencies. Some have even refused to be audited.

Last year the Sudanese president formed an anti-graft agency that would tackle suspected cases of corruption but little has emerged about its work.

The 2012 corruption index for Sudan issued by Transparency International puts Sudan at a very low rank compared to the rest of the world.

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