Skip to content

Scramble for South Sudan’s Coffers

A new report by Washington-based investigative and policy organization, The Sentry, reveals how corruption is crippling the South Sudanese economy. The report, titled Cash Grab, details how corrupt leaders have siphoned nearly $1 billion in loans provided by banks in Qatar and Kenya into the coffers of international shell companies linked to President Salva Kiir’s family and his inner circle – including the central bank governor and top military officials. A few months after independence in 2011, the Bank of South Sudan (the apex bank) signed several loan agreements with the Qatar National Bank (QNB) and CfC Stanbic, Kenya (a subsidiary of South African Standard Bank Group). The loan agreements allowed South Sudan to borrow $993 million in lines of credit – $793 million from QNB and $200 million from CfC Stanbic. The funds were disbursed between 2012 and 2015 to support efforts to import much-needed food, fuel, and medicine to the war-torn and newly independent country. It could have done more to aid national development. On the other hand, the country is supposed to repay the credit lines through the oil production it hoped to resume soon. Since the disbursement of the loans, none of the shell companies has provided any goods or services to South Sudanese. And to date, nobody has been queried. The investigative report noted that the disbursement process developed into a confusing, disjointed system that corrupt actors circumvented or subverted.