18 April 2018

Sudan: Arrests for Defamation After South Kordofan Governor Accused of Gold Smuggling

Kadugli — The Governor of South Kordofan has filed a criminal complaint against three people, including the director of the Red Crescent in the state, for defamation of the character, after accusations were posted on Facebook accusing him of gold smuggling.

The accusations include the use of government vehicles for the smuggling gold from Kadugli to Khartoum.

The prosecution has accordingly ordered the arrested of Merikha Eldow Merikha, the director of the Sudanese Red Crescent in the state, Mahmoud Mahjoub, and Mohsin Mousa, under Article 159 of the Criminal Code 1991 related to defamation of character.

Government sources in Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan, told Radio Dabanga that the prosecution had questioned Mousa and Mahjoub.

The sources said that prosecution has not been able to question Merikha who is currently in Khartoum.

Residents in Kadugli have confirmed the accusations of gold smuggling against the governor, alleging that "the governor has been smuggling gold for his personal benefit while neglecting the development of the state.

Corruption

The gold industry in Sudan is affected by country's legal and institutional framework, "bureaucratic and political corruption, including embezzlement, cronyism and patronage," according to an analysis released in November 2017 compiled by Elfadil Elsharief Elhashmi for the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG).

Entitled The Politics of Mining and Trading of Gold in Sudan: Challenges of Corruption and Lack of Transparency , the report is part of SDFG's series of publications on corruption and lack of transparency.

Some of the key findings of this report include:

The Geological Research Authority of Sudan (GRAS) estimated that every week between 50 and 100 kilograms of extracted gold are sent to Khartoum for black market sale and export.

75 per cent of gold gets smuggled. And smuggling is being enabled by the inconsistency of policies regulating the sector, monetary policies, corruption and militia control of the gold producing area of Jebel Amir.

Between 2010 and 2014, more than $4.5 billion worth of gold was smuggled from Sudan to the United Arab Emirates, according to the report of the UN panel of experts.

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