South Sudan axes anti-corruption chief

2011-11-14 18:30

Juba - South Sudan appointed a senior judge to head its anti-corruption commission at the weekend, in a possible bid to revitalise the organisation which has failed to produce a single conviction since it was set up in 2006.

The African country depends largely on donor money and oil revenues and has been under pressure to tackle graft allegations since it seceded from Sudan in July.

Justice John Gatwich Lul became the chair of South Sudan's anti-corruption commission, taking over from Pauline Riak on Saturday, a statement on the government's website said.

The government did not give an explanation for the change, but President Salva Kiir has often repeated pledges to wipe out corruption in the state whose oil production accounts for 98% of government revenues.

Three corruption cases have gone to court since the commission was established five years ago, but none have been concluded. Five others are before the justice ministry.

Officials say it is difficult to prove corruption through existing criminal law. The country does not yet have a financial crimes act.

The heads of 19 other government commissions or institutions were also replaced, including the audit chamber, electricity corporation and the fiscal, financial allocation and monitoring commission.

South Sudan seceded after voting overwhelmingly for independence in a January referendum promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with Khartoum.

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