By Ngor Arol Garang
March 21, 2012 (JUBA) – A court in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Wednesday acquitted the Secretary General of the country’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Pagan Amum Okiech, of receiving a $30 million corrupt payment in 2006.
South Sudan’s then minister of finance, Arthur Akuien Chol, alleged earlier this year that he received orders from “above” to transfer the public money.
Lado Arimino Sekwat, the high court judge who presided over the case on Wednesday said he was clearing Amum because there was not “sufficient evidence” indicating that the money had been transferred into his private account. However, the judge said that it was proved that the money was transferred into an official SPLM account to which Amum was not a signatory.
It is still unknown what happened to the money, what it was spent on, or why public funds were transferred into an account belonging to the ruling SPLM.
The ruling was met by cheering from Amum’s supporters who were present in the court room. The judge ruled that Chol pay Amum 100,000 South Sudanese pounds ($37,000) in compensation for defaming his personality.
He also fined The Citizen and Almasir newspapers 100,000 SSP each for publishing “lies” about Amum.
Category: South Sudan News