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South Sudan.net Editor Grill for reporting Corruption reporting

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Editor of http://www.southsudannation.net, an independent website championing South Sudan independence, is grilled by Mr Mading Ngor, editor of  The New Sudan Vision – www.newsudanvision.com, for alleged misreporting on the controversial corruption story that was recently posted on South Sudan Nation website. The New Sudan

Breaking: Cracks appear in South Sudan Nation website’s ‘corruption’ story

By:
Mading Ngor, The New Sudan Vision (NSV), www.newsudanvision.com

December 10, 2008 (Edmonton, AB, Canada NSV) – A moderator of a South
Sudanese website that published a story alleging a South Sudanese
government adviser was caught with a large sum of money in London Heathrow
Airport does not know the true source of the information, he told The New
Sudan Vision today on the phone from his home in Canada.
“I don’t know, people send me some of these things,” Peter Wankomo, who is
founder and moderator of southsudannation.com said, when asked about the origin of the news article on his website.
“Actually, I don’t have direct contact with the parties concerned. But the
guy who sent me [the story] is somebody in the government there [in
southern Sudan]. And this thing was quoted off the SPLM Diaspora discussion
group,” he said.
The story is sourced to a supposed London-based newspaper, IRS. It alleges
that an adviser to the Government of South Sudan President Salva Kiir is
being investigated by the British police.
“Stephen Madut Bak, 62, is facing probe about the source of the
mouth-watering cash that he attempted to sneak into Britain illegally via
Heathrow airport. The money has been confiscated by the Heathrow Custom
officials until the probe is completed,” it said.

A top official in the Government of South Sudan, who declined to be named
because the allegation is unverified, says Mr. Stephen Madut Bak has long
been stationed in London.“He used to be [SPLM] spokesman during the liberation struggle in London,” following John Luk Jok’s departure fro England, he said. After the signing of the peace agreement, he returned to Southern Sudan. However, Mr. Madut Bak, says the official, was referred back to England for treatment because he was unwell. When he recovered from his illness he was appointed as SPLM Representative in London. “He stayed for a while and then he was appointed as some form of adviser, I think a political adviser,” by President Salva Kiir. According to the official’s account, he last saw Stephen Bak in Southern Sudan “about three months ago,” only to read about him on the Internet. “How would you carry three million dollars in a bag? That story remains to be confirmed,” he says.
Another alleged accomplice in the story aka “money ring member,” is Bak
Wuol, which the article claims to be a relation of Stephen Bak. A MP from
South Sudan Legislative Assembly we spoke to Tuesday night believes Mr. Bak Wuol is a director in the Ministry of Regional Cooperation.
But there are holes in the story. There is no paper called IRS listed in
the directory of all London newspapers and magazines, much less a news
website.

The story quotes a Hugh Bayley MP warning on the dangers of corruption in
Africa. Unlike the story which says the comments were made by the MP
“recently; ”NSV has established the words were published in a report dubbed “The Other Side of the Coin: The Role of the UK in Corruption in Africa,” released on March 29, 2006.

In addition, we find that the format of the quote matches exactly with the
recitation of the same quote by another online source naijapost [1] and the
attribution is much looser for a newspaper.

The story also plagiarizes a 2002 article written by The Independent, which
quotes the former Nigerian President Olesugun Obasango estimating money
laundered by African leaders since post-colonialism, here The Independent
[2]

Despite the cracks in the story, we still don’t know if such staggering
money loot has taken place. A call placed to London Heathrow Airport’s
media department has not been immediately returned. Yet, a similar story
dealing with bribery entitled, “UK returns arms bribe to Uganda“ involving
Ugandan official in Britain appeared on Daily Monitor [3] yesterday.

South Sudan Nation website has affinity for controversy. Much of the
content on the site ranges from corruption to President Salva Kiir’s
alleged ‘inefficiency’, to Dinka ‘occupation of Madi land’ and other wedge
issues.

In April, Mr. Wankomo made a cartoon that likened the Dinka IDPs in Eastern
Equatoria to the Janjaweed militia in Darfur. “It’s a draw,” supposedly
says President Kiir to Omar Bashir. “Your Janjaweed in Darfur and my
‘Jiengeweed’ in Dar Madi,” the cartoon’s content read.

Asked if he would be accountable should the story be a hoax, he said; “If
the story is false then it wouldn’t be my problem because the source, the
SPLM Diaspora, I thought, these are the guys who belong to the SPLA/SPLM so it’s their responsibility because they published it.”

The website didn’t mention the article was taken off SPLM Diaspora
discussion forum. And just an hour after our interview with the moderator,
the story was pulled from the website.
He continues. “I feel that many people have been able to say their minds
through South Sudan Nation.
“This is a place whereby people express some of their opinions as much as
they are very controversial.”

The website was made in May 2003 to ‘send a message to guys in Naivasha to
put emphasis on Southern Sudan,’ he says. It describes itself as “Leading
Independent Website for South Sudan Secession and National Independence.”
Mr. Wankomo says he sometimes receive serious threats from people who are
angry about information published on the website.

**********British Police targets South Sudanese money loot
*******************

London, Dec.5th,2008 (IRS)–A man identified as an advisor to the President
of the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) is being questioned
by the British Police for allegedly smuggling $ 3 million into the United
Kingdom.

Stephen Madut Bak, 62, is facing probe about the source of the
mouth-watering cash that he attempted to sneak into Britain illegally via
Heathrow airport. The money has been confiscated by the Heathrow Custom
officials until the probe is completed.

“Mr. Bak arrived in London earlier in the week with huge cash, which
naturally aroused suspicions on money laundering. Initial investigation
shows the money was apparently diverted from the Government of Southern
Sudan, where Mr. Bak says is serving as an advisor to its President Salva
Kiir”, a source at the London Metropolitan Police told IRS.

An accomplice of Mr. Bak, identified as Mr. Mou Mou is also being
questioned.

Metro police investigators have revealed that Mr. Stephen Bak has lived in
the UK since the early 1980, where he had been the representative of the
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) which led a protracted 22-year
civil war against various Muslim governments in Northern Sudan, before
singing a landmark peace agreement in 2005. Mr Bak, who had been living on
social security benefits handed out by the British Government, vanished
from the UK in recent months only to return with $ 3 millions dollars on a
suitcase.

On interrogation, Bak told investigators that the money would be used to
set up a diplomatic mission for the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan
in London.

“His explanation was far convincing as there was no evidence of any prior
official correspondences between the British Government and Government of
Southern Sudan to establish such an office. Moreover, Mr. Bak seemed to
give two contradicting stories: on the one hand, he claims to be a
Presidential Advisor, hence his access to this money. On the other hand, he
says he was coming to the UK to serve as Head of the mission of the
Government of Southern Sudan”, said the Metro Police Source, adding that
papers being presented by Bak’s lawyer were furnished by the money ring
member identified as Mr Bak Woul, who is believed to be a close relative of
Mr. Stephen Bak, according to the Metro Police background check.

British Police are trying to keep a lid on money stolen from Africa by
cronies of the ruling regimes. There is a growing view in the UK and the
rest of Europe that global commitments to reduce poverty and improve lives
in Africa cannot be achieved unless the international community makes
urgent progress towards repatriation of stolen money back to Africa.

“Corruption is bleeding Africa to death and the cost is borne by the
poor. … Much of the money is banked in Britain or our overseas
territories and dependencies.. … We want our government to get tough on
corruption.” – Hugh Bayley, MP, Chair of the Africa All Party Parliamentary
Group said recently.

Corrupt African leaders have stolen at least $140bn (£95bn) from their
people in the decades since independence, according to former Nigerian
President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Obasanjo accused European countries of “sitting” on much of the stolen
money stashed in European banks, say there was little action from Europe to
try to bring back the money to Africa and improve living conditions.
European countries and banks, he said, providing a safe haven for stolen
African money had to share the guilt.

XXXXXXX–London, Dec.5th, 2008(IRS)

News/story/IRS/Brian Sunderland

Source URL:
http://www.newsudanvision.com/news/breaking-cracks-appear-south-sudan-nation-website%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98corruption%E2%80%99-story-1357

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Written by torit1955

December 11, 2008 at 11:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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