South Sudan

U.S. Sanctions President Salvar Kiir’s ‘Associate’ over Corruption, Abuses

The United States announced Friday that it was imposing sanctions on South Sudanese National Benjamin Bol Mel for his role “in facilitating corruption.”

According to a statement issued by the US Embassy in South Sudan, the targeted sanctions, which were not revealed relate “to the Administration’s implementation of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”

The Embassy officials said Mel is a ‘close associate” of South Sudanese President Saliva Kiir and he has used his high-level connections to regularly engage in large scale government contracts worth millions of dollars for construction work that was not completed.

Officials said they are about to submit a report to the Federal Register with additional details on Mr. Bol Mel’s acts of corruption.

The youngest nation in Africa, which plunged into a civil war after soldiers loyal to former vice president Riek Machar turned against those of Kiir, has suffered in many ways, with millions of nationals fleeing the country seeking for refugee.

The US government says many selfish individuals have taken advantage of the war to engage in lots of vices, which is taking a devastating toll on the country. But they assured of continuous efforts in fighting them.

“While much of South Sudan’s population suffers from violence and hunger, a small coterie of elites continues to enrich itself. Acts of corruption undermine the values that form the essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals, weaken democratic institutions, degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts, facilitate the activities of other dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets,” reads the Embassy communique.

“The people of South Sudan have had to endure conflict and the humanitarian catastrophe it brings; the United States stands ready to take additional action against those who profit from this catastrophe, including those who facilitate the actions of corrupt officials.”

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