20 March 2019

Africa: New Report Warns of Six Corruption Threats to Peace in South Sudan

press release

"Safeguards to Peace" presents recommendations for economic governance to counter deep-rooted kleptocracy and support sustainable peace

The tenuous peace agreement in South Sudan faces serious threats from a deep-rooted system of corruption and profiteering, according to a new report by the Enough Project. The report, "Safeguards to Peace," identifies six severe gaps in the country's economic governance.

Drawing on discussions with South Sudanese civil society and past international examples, the report details 10 critical policies to counter the kleptocratic practices that risk undermining South Sudan's fragile peace agreement and confront the continued looting of the country's economic resources.

Mark Ferullo, report author and Investigative Analyst at The Sentry, said: "Since independence, the leaders of South Sudan's violent kleptocratic system have developed an infrastructure for corruption, war profiteering and private gain that continues to spread. This corrupt system will not crumble overnight. But the peace agreement provides a rare opening to pursue powerful anti-corruption reforms that can begin to dismantle the kleptocracy."

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: "A South Sudan that is prosperous and at peace with itself is not a far-fetched dream - it is doable and within reach. War, famine and mass atrocities are not a fixed destiny driven by various localized or ancient disagreements, but rather a brutal status quo imposed by modern corruption, abuse of power, and globalized networks of facilitation and profiteering. South Sudan's politicians need finally to commit to strong accountability measures that will propel the country forward, liberated finally from the violent looting machines."

The report identifies six deficits in the country's economic governance that currently inhibit lasting peace:

Endemic corruption, and a lack of accountability and transparency in the economy.

Weak government institutions that fail to provide basic services.

Elite control of state resources, and an economy skewed to benefit political leaders.

Political centralization of economic governance and resources.

Economic underdevelopment, including insufficient infrastructure and lack of land rights.

Absence of justice for corruption and disregard for community involvement.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: "The battle over the spoils of corruption by South Sudan's political leaders has repeatedly inflicted senseless suffering on the people of South Sudan. It is time for new thinking on how to end this predictable cycle of conflict driven by private greed and the looting of the country's resources. Financial pressures, including network sanctions, should target the profiteers and commercial enablers who have their hands on the country's economic levers. Those making fortunes from the suffering of millions of South Sudanese must face accountability, or the cycles of war will continue."

Report recommendations:

The report recommends the following 10 steps to incorporate financial safeguards and economic oversight into the peace agreement. The report argues that when combined with financial pressures, including targeted network sanctions and anti-money laundering enforcement, aimed at altering the leadership's incentive structure, these recommendations should begin to dismantle the violent kleptocracy and also support economic governance reforms that can help to prevent a return to war.

Install Central Bank Technical Advisory Body

Appoint AU Transparency Envoy

Start Independent National Audit

Build e-Transparency Online System

Stand Up South Sudan Forum on Asset Recovery

Establish International Commission Against Impunity

Promote Gender Equality and Economic Opportunity for Women

Elevate Role of the Independent Boundaries Commission

Complete Corruption and Governance Review

Broaden South Sudan Reconstruction Board

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa's deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more - and join us - at www.EnoughProject.org.

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