Investigative: The corrupt foreign businessman influencing award of lucrative duty-paid stamp contract to his company

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Last month we published anticle titled “How South Sudan Awarded a Lucrative Duty Paid Stamp Contract to Corrupt Indian Company (Madras Security Printers Private Limited)”. In the article we focused on how foreigners such as Semere Derar who has been acting as local agents for Madras Security Printers Private Limited and other foreign companies are using bribery and blackmail to secure lucrative and highly sensitive government contracts for themselves at the expense of South Sudanese with the same financial and technical capabilities to execute these contracts.
True to our predictions in the first article, Semere Derar has gone on the offensive using threats and intimidation against the author of this article by invoking the names of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his family as well as the name of the Director General of Internal Security Bureau (ISB) Gen. Akol Koor and the National Security Service (NSS). In a leaked recorded phone conversation provided to the author of this article, Semere Derar could be heard saying, “I have recruited family of Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Director General Akol Koor who are shareholders within my company Bills Co. Limited

. The President is represented by her daughter Adut Salva Kiir while Akol Koor is represented by his son Akol Akol Koor. Nobody can fuck around me with in this country or I will have them arrested or worse have them killed”.

In another damning recorded phone conversation, Semere Derar could be heard openly bragging that he has bribed other senior officials within the Office of the President, National Revenue Authority and what he calls Warrap Mafia led by Brig. Gen. Philip Nyon and others to facilitate the award of this contract to his company. “I have given these fools (referring to South Sudanese) so much money so that they can give me this contract. I have the whole NRA in my pocket. I am the one in charge of handling private affairs of Erjok (referring to the former Acting Commissioner General of NRA, Gen. Erjok Bullen Geu) and I am currently constructing for him two commercial buildings in Kampala”.

Semere Derar has also been bragging about his connection to the former Minister of Finance & Planning Salvatore Garang Mabiordit. “The Minister of Finance is my good friend and we have done a lot of things together including facilitating some payments for him through the African Development Bank”. To prove his connection to Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, Semere Derar shared some of the documents written by one of his associates called Valentino Wol to the Minister of Finance & Planning requesting to be awarded the contract for “Tax Collection System Proposal”. According to the letter written on 25th August 2020 and seen by the author of this article, Semere Derar’s company, Bills Limited says it has, “partnered with a Kenyan company called Jambo Pay – an innovative electronic payments service provider whose its records have been tested in more than six countries in Africa”. In another letter dated 10th September 2020, the Minister of Finance & Planning referred the letter to the Acting Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) as per request of the company. Using this letter from the Ministry of Finance, Semere Derar has been bragging to his friends that he has been awarded the contract to produce and supply duty paid stamp for the National Revenue Authority.

Support Local Companies and Businesses
As in the previous article, the Government of South Sudan should stop awarding such huge and sensitive contracts to foreigners when the same contracts can be executed by South Sudanese companies and individuals with the same technical and financial capabilities. Individuals like Semere Derar are just here to milk this country. They are the very reason why South Sudan is in such serious economic crisis because foreigners are busy transferring US dollars to invest in their own countries. As mentioned in the previous article, anger is brewing among young South Sudanese against foreigners from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Lebanon who have been awarded huge contracts by the Government of South Sudan. For example, Faraj Kanso, the owner of AFK Concept Company Limited was awarded a contract worth USD 15 million to supply medical equipment for combating Corona Virus (COVID-19) in South Sudan. He pocketed the money and left the country without supplying a single item. South Sudan is edging towards xenophobic attacks against these foreigners if the Government of South Sudan doesn’t stop awarding huge contracts to foreigners such as Semere Derar and Faraj Kanso.

Fraudster and Conman

Semere Derar just like Faraj Kanso is a convicted fraudster in Uganda and Kenya. Semere and other directors of his company are under criminal investigations in Kenya and Uganda by the authorities for forging duty paid stamps hence channeling billions of US dollars in taxes to their own private bank accounts. Semere Derar wants to do the same thing in South Sudan using new company called Bills Limited as shown in the attached documents. South Sudan is already struggling economically due to the drop in oil prices as a result of COVID-19, as such we cannot allow foreigners such as Semere Derar to play around with our meagre resources from non-oil revenues.

Semere Derar is a crook and a conman. He cheated Madras Security Printers Limited of millions of US dollars allegedly used to bribe senior officials of the Ministry of Finance & Planning and the National Revenue Authority (NRA) so as to influence the initial award of the contract to Madras Security Printers Limited. According to a senior official in the Ministry of Finance, Semere Derar has been lying that Madras has not given him money to “sort them out”. “This guy called Semere Derar is a conman and a crook. He received millions of US dollars that was given to us by Madras Security Printers for helping them secure the contract for the duty paid stamp yet he has been lying to us that he has not been paid by Madras”, said a bitter officials of the Ministry of Finance & Planning. He added that they will deal with Semere Derar should he try his tricks again.

When Semere Derar was confronted by officials of Madras Security Printers why he has not paid officials of the Ministry of Finance and National Revenue Authority who facilitated the award of the contract to Madras Security Printers, Semere Derar threatened to have them deported or even killed by his “soldiers” from the National Security Service. He then went ahead and fronted his company Bills Limited to be awarded the contract for duty paid stamp hence double-crossing Madras Security Printers as a result of differences mentioned above.

Non-Existence Partnership with Jambo Pay
As stated above Semere Derar is a fraud. He has lied that he has partnered with a company called Jambo Pay which is based in Kenya. Our in-depth investigation revealed that Jambo Pay has not partnered with Bills Limited (owned by Semere Derar) to print and produce duty paid stamp for the National Revenue Authority of South Sudan. “We have never heard about Bills Limited or this fraudster called Semere Derar. We have not business interest in South Sudan at the moment”, said a senior official of Jambo Pay who spoke to us on condition of anonymity.

Our investigation also revealed that Bills Limited which Semere Derar is using secure duty paid stamp contract for NRA has no technical and commercial expertise and experience in the production of duty paid stamp. As per the leaked documents attached to this article, Bills Limited deals in “supply, branding, oil and gas distribution and housekeeping services”. It will be a huge mistake to award such a sensitive contract to this company as it will lead to loss of billions on non-oil revenues.

Bribery and Corruption
Semere Derar has been bragging to his friends that he will get the contract because he has already bribed Daniel Magot Deng, the current Commissioner of Support Services at NRA to the tune of tens of thousands of US dollars paid to him in cash. “South Sudan Government officials are broke and they need money. I have already paid Daniel and he is going to support me. I am now waiting for the new Acting Commissioner General of NRA, Africano Mande and I will bribe him then I will just be awarded the contract”, a close friend of Semere Derar said. Semere Derar added that “Daniel Magot is a crook who was illegally recruited to NRA and if he tries to mess around with this contract, I will just mobilize the Warrap Mafia to get him out of the office just like I did to Erjok when he dragged his feet to invite my business partners from Switzerland to come to South Sudan for the award of the duty paid stamp contract”, Semere Derar was quoted as bragging to his friends.

Way Forward
Given the reasons cited above, it will be catastrophic to award this contract to this convicted criminal called Semere Derar. This is an individual with condescending attitude towards South Sudanese. He has been insulting senior government officials simply because he gave them money. He has also been dragging the name of the President and his family as well as Direct0r General of Internal Security into his business deals.

Semere Derar is a seasoned criminal who has been using bribery, fraudulent, coercive behaviour, blackmail, threats, intimidation and other corrupt practices to secure lucrative and sensitive government contracts. This must be put to an end. He should be immediately arrested and deported for this criminal activities that goes against the interest of the country. Semere Derar is among the individuals being used by Sentry Report to gather information of alleged corruption against government officials and especially the President and his family. Semere Derar has now found perfect opportunity to drag the name of President Salva Kiir Mayardit for his own business interest. In Eritrea where Semere Derar comes from, he will be arrested and jailed for espionage and high treason for tarnishing for using the name of the President and his family for his criminal activities. Unfortunately, this is South Sudan where we treat foreigners even criminals like Semere Derar like kings. He has been bragging to his friends that he is untouchable.

For this reason, we are calling on the new Acting Commissioner General of NRA, Africano Mande and other relevant authorities such as Ministry of Finance &Planning, the National Security Service and the Economic Cluster headed by Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga to urgently intervene and ensure that this criminal doesn’t get away with this. There are technically and financial capable South Sudanese companies who can successfully execute this contract. South Sudan cannot trust a foreigner such as Semere Derar to guarantee the interest of South Sudan in the execution of this contract.

This investigative report was compiled by investigative journalist, Wol Deng Akot, for Sudans Post. Deng is reachable via:

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