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Corruption in Nilepet: Why the Current Managing Director of Nilepet is a Hyena in the Sheep’s Cloth

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By Deng Joseph Mareng

I want to start by dispelling the myth lingering in people’s minds that the current Nilepet management is the Messiah administration: this misconception has capitalised on many folks due to sycophants’ efforts by some social media stooges who have made spreading misleading information their job. The goal of the Managing Director’s supporters is to conceal the infectious activities of the managing director and divert public attention so that South Sudanese lived in delusion. In human civilization, we watch or experience other people’s behaviour, whether it is positive or negative, and we learn from it. Some of us imitate it, some reject it, and still, others choose to ignore it. Some responsive leaders immediately discover that their every action and performance appears to be scrutinized. At the water cooler, they recount their accounts of what happened. with the analysis; we will know how  Chol Deng Thon Abel’s second term is tragic.

Under his current leadership, the National Oil and Gas Company has been left in ruins and has been reduced to nothing more than a corruption-driven entity, both at an administrative and financial level. I’m attempting to outline the corrupt practices at that government business entity in this essay, and also, I think readers will agree that the current management of Nilepet has engaged in dishonest practices that range from bribery, lack of integrity, and crooks, Perverse, twist, wick, and engaging in evil practices. The current managing director of the National Oil and Gas Company (Nilepet) has adopted the nepotism approach since being appointed, sticking to a policy of employing relatives and friends. Through this methodology, he has employed a significant number of his relatives in an institution as if it is his father’s private enterprise, this type of employment is being questioned by a group of citizens in other institutions. This led to the unfavourable and maybe accurate perception that the entire employment strategy in that institution is targeting friends and family; that these actions are used to further personal goals that serve no purpose for an institution whatsoever and that it is the riskiest for the reputation of the institution as well as government.

The present managing director has chosen to work for the establishment of the dynasty; he is attempting to place his stooges in sensitive positions so that, should he get fired, his family and friends will be in a position to take over the business; making him the curator of Nilepet who can even administer the institution while at his home. All of the Nilepet subsidiaries are currently being managed by persons he considered to be his closest associates. Technocrats who have long managed these subsidiaries are either marginalized or discredited through blackmailing that they are loyal to former managing directors who once led Nilepet. The problem isn’t only confined to employing family members and friends; it also extended to giving them promotions and higher grades within the institution without considering how this would affect the company’s performance in terms of output and workplace morale. Some of his friends and family members are just hired right into higher jobs from positions far from the field of petroleum engineering. For instance, a lot of the people who scream the Managing Director’s praises on social media have been awarded jobs and, to make matters worse, they are promoted to higher grades before the provisional promotion deadline as required by the laws and guidelines.

Some people may believe that it is his right to employ South Sudanese because they are citizens, but employment is solely the responsibility of the ministry of labour, and even though Nilepet is a government business institution with the authority to hire people, this authority does not mean that it is a privilege for a bureaucrat in the position of authority to wilfully chooses to hire family members and friends over qualified applicants. To be fair, adopting employment based solely on kinship may reduce productivity and open the door to claims of favouritism and nepotism, thus weakening the institutional capacity to render public services. Favouritism is one of the most dangerous forms of administrative corruption that may have disastrous effects on society, and it is practised with the control of limiting it to the private sector if one of the managers wants to or promotes one of his employed relatives because of a kinship relationship instead of Another employee who is more qualified. The current managing director of the National Oil and Gas Company (Nilepet) does not deserve to be the director of this institution since it is a public entity.

The controversy involving employees receiving social benefits is another shocking example of corruption at Nilepet; although the company’s legislation and policies have set up medical insurance for all employees, none of the money from these benefits really goes to the people themselves. The insurance provider that was hired by former managing directors to perform the services has recently had difficulty. The current managing director allegedly divulged to himself a substantial portion of that shady arrangement and was attempting to terminate the contract and transfer it to another company deemed to have promised kickback. However, the company threatened to sue Nilepet due to the penalties of the default clause provided in the agreement. They are currently in negotiations, and one requirement set forth by the managing director for the company to continue providing services is to give the managing director the lion’s share portion.

The managing director of Nilepet has siphoned a significant amount of employee social benefits since his reappointment, vis-a-vis clothing allowances. Under murky circumstances, Nilepet employees have been denied these benefits for nearly a year. Money may have been stolen and diverted to the managing director’s account, specifically for his own use. All enrolled members of the Nilepet are entitled to a clothing allowance each year on the anniversary month of their initial stipend, as has long been known.

This allowance is intended to cover the cost of replacing liveries that have undergone normal wear according to the company’s internal grading system. In other words, each employee receives a certain amount of money to cover the cost of buying work attire and contingencies. All the workers are carrying out their duties without this money because it has been redirected to one man’s pocket. In a nutshell, this act has increased employee unhappiness and misery as a result of the declining popular responsibility and response in Nilepet, these employees are now more prone to tolerate (or even demand) harsh and illiberal methods of management.

Although Nilepet employees have historically been known for receiving the best welfare, recent corrupt practices there has a disproportionately negative effect on the company’s poorest and most vulnerable workers, driving up costs and restricting access to services like health care, education, and other employment benefits. If left unchecked, the corruption in Nilepet will probably exacerbate other issues, undermining the fairness of institutions and procedures and altering general government priorities and policies. As a result, it will dent the legitimacy of regimes and cause the public to lose faith in and support for the government and its institutions. Nilepet, which is a major source of national income, has a profoundly harmful effect on the public sector because, if the president doesn’t move immediately to address it, it can breed a culture of corruption within the whole government.

The writer is a cadre of SPLM and could be reached via dengwallat@gmail.com

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Somali Forces Battle Militants For Hotel In Mogadishu: Police

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Mogadishu (AFP), Nov 28 – Somalia’s security forces exchanged gunfire with militants holed up in a hotel in Mogadishu on Monday after Al-Shabaab stormed the popular venue near the presidential palace and laid siege overnight.

Sporadic gunfire and explosions could still be heard after dawn around the Villa Rose, a hotel in a secure central part of Mogadishu frequented by lawmakers and public officials.

Police said late Sunday that government forces were seeking to “eliminate” a number of armed militants inside the Villa Rose after attacking the hotel in a hail of bullets and explosions.

National police spokesman Sadik Dudishe said many civilians and officials had been rescued, but did not offer further details.

Witnesses described two massive explosions followed by gunfire that sent people fleeing the scene in Bondhere district. The hotel is just a few blocks from the office of Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda that has been trying to overthrow Somalia’s central government for 15 years, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a 20,000-strong military force drawn from across the continent, praised the “swift” security response to the attack in a statement late Sunday.

On its website the Villa Rose describes the hotel as the “most secure lodging arrangement in Mogadishu” with metal detectors and a high perimeter wall.

– Retaliatory attacks –

Al-Shabaab has intensified attacks against civilian and military targets as Somalia’s newly-elected government has pursued a policy of “all-out war” against the Islamists.

The security forces, backed by local militias, ATMIS and US air strikes, have driven Al-Shabaab from central parts of the country in recent months, but the offensive has drawn retribution.

On October 29, two cars packed with explosives blew up minutes apart in Mogadishu followed by gunfire, killing at least 121 people and injuring 333 others.

It was the deadliest attack in the fragile Horn of Africa nation in five years.

At least 21 people were killed in a siege on a Mogadishu hotel in August that lasted 30 hours before security forces could take control from the militants inside.

The UN said earlier this month that at least 613 civilians had been killed and 948 injured in violence this year in Somalia, mostly caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attributed to Al-Shabaab.

The figures were the highest since 2017 and a more-than 30-percent rise from last year.

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Dr. Majak D’ Agoôt: a victim of his own success”

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By Daniel Akech Thiong

Dr. Majak D’ Agoôt joined the SPLA as a secondary school student like many others who heard the call to arms in 1983 to fight for the liberation of South Sudan. He contributed to several fronts during the struggle including the reversal of the SPLA misfortunes in the 1990s in Equatoria, especially at Bunio, and in the Blue Nile in Yabus, Kurmuk, Geizan, Ora, Shali el Fil, Wadega, and Ulu. He was also known for his innovative skills in laying mines and his other major contribution was the training of the new forces at Bonga. He never stopped learning whenever he had an opportunity. He is mostly self-taught. When opportunities for distance learning began to open in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dr. Majak enrolled and obtained his bachelor’s degree. During the negotiation of the peace agreement from 2002-2005, he attended classes in person in London.

Dr. Majak D’ Agoôt is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the African Leadership Center, King’s College London. He is the former Deputy Chief of the Sudanese Intelligence and South Sudan’s Deputy Defense Minister. He formerly held the role of Senior analyst at the Changing Horizon Institute for Strategic Policy Analysis (CHI-SPA). He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and think tank pieces in media outlets in Africa, the Middle East, and the West, covering various policy spheres. He holds an MSc in Quantitative Finance and a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from SOAS, University of London. He also has an MSc in Security Sector Management from Cranfield University and an MA in War Studies from King’s College London.

Dr. Majak underwent military training in Ethiopia, Israel, and Cuba. These courses turned him into a military intellectual at an early age. Dr. Majak trained some of the best SPLA units and three officers’ cadet shields (5, 6, and 7). His hard work and discipline transformed him from a guerrilla commander into a productive and prolific scholar. His vast experience as a trainer and operational field commander has forged an avid tactical and strategic thinker.

A humane politics

His politics is mostly clean as he does not like to deal under the table. Years ago, a man who had been alleged to have worked against Dr. Majak found himself under the custody of a hostile foreign agency. The man was on a duty in a foreign country doing counterinsurgency duties. The foreign agency caught him and innocently accused him of spying on their country. They took him to a dark place where people rarely survive. Dr. Majak received the news, and he called a colleague of his in a high position (a defense minister) to immediately transfer this person to a military detention center. This was done and thereby saving the life of that person. After this transfer, the two governments were able to negotiate the release (this stage would not have been reached had it not been for the intervention of Dr. Majak). When I heard this story, I asked Dr. Majak why he saved the life of someone whom he knew as working against him. His response was impressive: I won’t know what to tell his children when I meet them in the future knowing that my intervention could have saved their dad’s life.

He also advocates for others. Years ago, Hon. Philip Thon Leek Deng was relieved as the Governor of Jonglei. The office of the President prepared a decree that appointed Engineer Bior Ajang Duot as a national minister in Khartoum. Dr. Majak saw the decree and went to the President and told him a story: Hon. Philip Thon Leek was the only person from Duk and he has been relieved if you give this position to another person from Twic East, our people of Duk will have nobody at the state level and at the national level. This would not be fair. Kiir reversed the order and appointed Hon. Philip Thon to go to Khartoum as a national minister. Dr. Majak, of course, had to plead with his own Twic East Constituency to convince people that his action was in the best interest of Twic East and that he had nothing against Eng. Bior, who would have a technical job at the Ministry of Petroleum.

A bumpy political ride

When I met Dr. Majak D’ Agoot Atem in 2012 in Dallas, Texas, I asked him, over lunch, about the political situation in Juba. There were rumors about his falling out with the President. He told me that the worse that he could do against the President was nothing more than resign from his government. Despite the toxic politics prevalent throughout South Sudan, he cared about the deeply personal relationship between the two of them built over decades of genuine comradeship. During the entire interim period, rumors of coups were commonly circulated, and the name of Dr. Majak had been mentioned a few times. For example, in 2009, Generals Malong and Gregory accused Dr. Majak D’Agoot (also a general) of planning a coup. This turned out to be one of the four false accusations that occurred between 2009 and 2013.

It has been an open secret that General Malong Awan Anei Tong, who had been a close friend of President Salva Kiir, had a beep with Dr. Majak. A part of this beeping had to do with the formation of the SPLA from 1983-1987. The actual formation of the SPLA became completed around 1987. Many familiar names [Pagan Amum, Oyay Deng, Deng Alor, Paul Malong, Bol Madut, etc] you know from the SPLA did not join the SPLA, in the same manner, those of Koriom and Muor-Muor joined: they had their own armed movements and with their own ranks, which all gradually built the coalition that we came to know as the SPLA. When ranks were converted to the SPLA ranking system in 1987, Gen. Malong had already been promoted to a Major, which made him an Alternate Commander. Dr. Majak was still a Captain. The first grievance started in 1991 when Dr. Majak and his entire batch were made commanders. Gen. Paul Malong was still in jail (detained by Commander William Nyuon Bany). This arrest caused Gen. Malong to forfeit his seniority, but he was later promoted to commander with those of Biar Atem Ajang, George Athor Deng Dut, and Pieng Deng Kuol Arop Biong. Gen. Malong had never accepted this guerilla injustice. But he would not have had any issue with Dr. Majak had it not been for other events.

The SPLA was managed at various camps called headquarters (that distrusted each other so badly that you might need to ask for permission to leave your camp to visit another camp). The most important headquarters toward the end of the war were that of the Commander-in-Chief Dr. John Garang and that of his deputy Commander Salva Kiir. Dr. Majak was a rising star and a trusted commander in Kiir’s headquarters alongside those of the late Gen. Dominic Dim. Those of Nhial Deng, Pagan Amum, Deng Alor, Oyay Deng, Gen. Bior Ajang, Gen. James Oth, Gen. Kuol Manyang, and others were prominent in Dr. Garang’s camp.

On the administration of the three regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bahr Al Ghazal, the two power centers pushed their own guys into positions of influence. Commander Salva Kiir managed to push Dr. Majak up on the administrative leadership of Bahr Al Ghazal. Gen. Paul Malong who was fully back in the operations in the region might have viewed this negatively.

Then while Dr. Majak was in the administrative leadership of Bahr Al Ghazal, he opposed the slave redemption scheme, a project that Dr. Majak saw as a fraud while Gen. Malong saw it as a beneficial venture [this information is in the SPLA archive]. Dr. Majak’s position was not popular among the ranks, and he lost, but he took advantage of this to pursue his studies in the UK. When the SPLA was reorganized in 2005 into a slim force led by one active Lt. General (Oyay) and 15 active Major Generals, Dr. Majak’s name was not on the active list. After President Salva Kiir took over the leadership of the SPLA and the autonomous Southern regional government, he recalled Dr. Majak and gave him the security docket. Dr. Majak once again became the boss of Gen. Paul Malong. Gen. Malong managed to secure the governorship of Northern Bahr Al Ghazal, which relieved him from this uncomfortable position.

When the war happened in December 2013, Gen. Malong had tremendous power. Dr. Majak was among those accused of the coup. He was locked up along with many others. The situation divided people in Juba. There were those who wanted to harm those who were detained and there were those who worked hard to protect those who are detained. This was the precise point where those from Dr. Majak’s camp began to allegedly claim that some politicians from Greater Bor allied themselves with Gen. Paul Malong and sought to harm Dr. Majak.

There are indications that President Salva Kiir realized that there were different games at play. One was a competition within the Greater Bor Community among competing politicians, which quickly degenerated into a Bor County versus Twic East County online war, which was picked up by live video makers. The other was the SPLA commanders trying to settle scores from the era of the civil war under the darkness of the unfolding chaos. President Kiir chose to take a pause and he secretly began to protect Dr. Majak both in Juba and in Nairobi.

Gen. Paul Malong lost his influence. His space, which was more than just being the Chief of Staff, attracted competitors. One individual who initially emerged as the winner was Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial. Both Hon. Nhial and Dr. Majak had been in the administrative leadership of Bahr Al Ghazal during the civil war. They also came from two main power centers with Hon. Nhial owes his rise to Dr. John Garang while Dr. Majak owes his rise to President Salva Kiir. It is natural that they could see each other as competitors. It was an open secret that Hon. Kuol Manyang and Hon. Daniel Awet, two prominent members of the SPLM, favor Hon. Nhial. Given his prominent role in Greater Bor Community, this position of Hon. Kuol antagonized Dr. Majak’s camp. When Hon. Kuol came out in 2021 voicing his concerns about the direction of the country, Dr. Majak’s camp distanced itself from his message as a form of retaliation (the message was good, but the medium was viewed with suspicion).

Recent events leading to the dissolution of the Greater Bor Community Association

Considering the preceding anecdotes, Dr. Majak’s camp finally began to view the politicians who wielded control within the Greater Bor Community Association as people for whom reconciliation is impossible. They began to see the Greater Bor Community Association as a hot spot of hostility toward the person of Dr. Majak, with the help of social media, the Twic East Community began to view antagonism toward Dr. Majak (and equally toward Hon. Rebecca de Mabior) from the community lenses. Dr. Majak had to make a political choice: continue to support an association that has allegedly been working to bury him politically alive or join those who have been voicing complaints about this association and called to abandon it.

Future

Dr. Majak had resisted giving up on the idea of the Greater Bor Community Association for many years despite the pressure from his core support base of Twic East County. But if he were to remain a politician, he had to do what politicians do: realize that some constituencies can never vote for you due to a genuine communal grievance or a manufactured communal grievance, and it is okay to invest your energy elsewhere. There are 78 counties in South Sudan. If Dr. Majak ever decides to run for the Presidency of South Sudan or the Governorship of Jonglei State (which he has never ever mentioned), he can invest in counties where the negative campaign against his brand is less severe while leaving those constituencies that do not like him to his rivals. Even if one were to get 100% votes from the three counties of the former Bor District those will not be enough to guarantee one’s future in national politics. Politics is about ideas and not about clans or which community association you belong to. If your ideas are not needed in one place (including in your own village), you are free to market them in different places including outside of your country. If Dr. Majak chooses to just retire from politics today, his achievements would remain lofty.

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Kiir fires, appoints multiple officials in Upper Nile State

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President Salva Kiir - June 22, 2022. Photo credit: PPU
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JUBA.  President Salva Kiir has relieved and replaced several ministers, county commissioners, independence commissioners and an advisor in Upper Nile State.

In a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster – SSBC, President Kiir removed the State Advisor for Economic Affairs, Nyanuer William Nyuon.

He also relieved the Minister of local government and law enforcement, Thon Mun Kerjok and appointed Nyanuer William in his place.

The Minister of Peace Building Tut Simon, the Minister of Trade and Industry Simon Dup Puok Ter, the Minister of Labor, Public Service and Human Resources Development Joseph Mawut Deng, and the Minister of Road and Bridges Monyluak Machar Bilkuei – have all been fired.

The Head-of-state also sacked several independence commissioners in the oil-rich state.

They are the Chairperson Anti-Corruption Commission James Duer Chol, Deputy Chairperson of the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Commission James Muonyluk Mojok, and the Member of the Human Rights Commission Joseph Lat Kuol.

Meanwhile, he appointed Gatwech Jok Deng as Economic Affairs Adviser to replace Nyanuer William Nyuon.

Jeramiah Deng Akol has been appointed as the new Minister of Peace Building, Simon Ruot Reing as Minister of Trade and Industry, Reath Nyok as Minister of Labor, Public Service, and Human Resources Development, and Thomas Johnson Anye as Minister of Road and Bridges.

Kiir further fired the commissioners; Moses Achuil Guek Deng of Baliet County, Gieth Ador Noor of Akoka County, and Dok Guot Ngor of Renk County.

He appointed Wai Nyuon Wai as Commissioner of Akoka County, Joseph Deng as Commissioner of Baliet County, and Kak Badiite as Commissioner of Renk County

 

 

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