The Sentry has put out a report on President Salva Kiir and his rebel Riek Machar of South Sudan which showed that they own real estate abroad potentially as a way to hide unexplained wealth in Kenya and Uganda. The United States has urged Kenya to carry out investigations on the properties and assets belonging to the elite families from South Sudan, who have enriched themselves in their country’s civil war raging since 2013.
The report points at the President Salva and his former Vice president Riek Machar, charging them with getting rich in the civil war by fighting to control the country’s oil and other abundant natural resources. The war has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced nearly four million people, and provoked a catastrophic humanitarian crisis with the UN warning that 48 percent of the population were experiencing extreme hunger and seven million would need aid this year.
What will it take for Kenyan and Ugandan officials to investigate and then seize houses and other assets determined to be the proceeds of corruption in order to apply desperately needed pressure on South Sudan’s peace spoilers?
The Kenyan government has stated its commitment to ending the war in South Sudan. “We continue to urge the leaders of South Sudan to put the interest of the people and their motherland above their own,” President Uhuru Kenyatta told the lawmakers last month. “As we have always done ,Kenya stands with the people of Sudan in search of a lasting peace”.
Sigal Mandelker, the US Treasury’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence on a tour of East Africa, said South Sudanese, some of them sanctions list have continued to invest illicit money in Kenya’estate market. “I wanna be very clear, those who profit from human right violations and corruption, preying on the poor and innocent and mothers and children, must head our warning,” Mandelker told a press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday.
“We will impose consequences, we will cut off your access to the US financial system and we will work with our partners in this region and elsewhere to do the same,” she added, repeating a warning she had delivered earlier in the week in Uganda.