JUBA, 30 January 2021 – South Sudanese officials have admitted the country is corrupt, but dare the country that has not sinned to cast the first stone.
“These people who write like that so that they can earn their living on our blood,” said Michael Makuel Lueth, South Sudan’s information minister and government spokesperson.
He was reacting to the publication of the 2020 index on the perception of corruption by the German non-governmental organization Transparency International.
The index designated South Sudan as the most corrupt nation in the world with only 12 points out of a possible 100, a little worse that Somalia – tied with 12 points – and Sudan with a score of 16 out of a possible 100 points.
Somalia, Syria and Yemen were at the rock bottom of the previous index.
The African countries perceived to be the lest corrupt are, by order of merit, Seychelles (with a score of 66), Botswana (60) and Cabo Verde (58).
The countries that made the most improvements include Cote d’Ivoire – improving nine points from its 2013 score to post 36 points in 2020.
Congo-Brazzaville declined significantly, falling seven points to post a score of 19 on the 2020 index.
Some of the most corrupt acts highlighted in the report include “corruption and the widespread misuse of emergency funds” in South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe.
The other cases of malpractice highlighted include “overpricing, fraud and corruption” in expenditures like to COVID-19 in South Africa and the hoarding of COVID-19 medication decried by civil society organizations in Nigeria.
South Sudanese officials have reacted angrily to the bottom ranking the country received.
“Yes. I don’t deny that there is corruption in South Sudan… but it is not the most corrupt,” Makuel told Sudans Post on Friday.
“Even America is corrupt. There is corruption even in America, even in Germany. So we can’t deny that there is corruption in South Sudan but to rank it as the most corrupt country is unacceptable,” the minister added.
For the Sudanese government spokesperson, NGOs like Transparency International and United Nations agencies are among the most corrupt.
“These NGOs and UN Agencies are the most corrupt and their reports are based on what. So I don’t really believe these are genuine reports,” Makuel said.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region that shows little improvement since Transparency International founded its Corruption Perception Index in 1995.
The Transparency International Index provides an annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries and territories from all over the globe.