JUBA – President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Monday night made several changes to the office of the president, including the controversial appointment of a previously disgraced aide as his new chief of staff.
Kiir dismissed Paul Polo Ongee as the president’s chief of staff and replaced him with Yel Luol, whose appointment raises eyebrows due to his previous dismissal in 2015 over an embezzlement scandal involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At the time, Luol was serving as executive director in the president’s office when he became embroiled in a scam where officials impersonated the president and obtained large sums of money from the Central Bank.
Luol was found guilty of misappropriating funds and sentenced to imprisonment, but later pardoned and released by President Kiir.
Prior to his appointment to the president’s office, Luol was the undersecretary in the ministry of investment.
His return to a high-ranking position within the president’s office will likely spark debate and raise concerns about transparency and accountability within the government.
Kiir in another decree appointed Ongee as undersecretary in the ministry of investment.
He also appointed William Anyak Deng as the new Undersecretary of the ministry of petroleum replacing Mayen Wol.
Wol was Kiir’s chief of staff in 2015 when he was dismissed and sentenced to prison along with Luol.
He was appointed to the position of undersecretary of the ministry of petroleum in July 2022.
Both Mayen and Luol hail from Warrap State, President Kiir’s home state.
Today’s changes come amidst concerns over corruption and mismanagement within the transitional government.
Kiir’s decision to bring back a previously disgraced official into a position of power is likely to fuel these concerns further and raise questions about his commitment to good governance.