Bloomberg News

South Sudan to Clean Up Civil Service, Oust Unqualified Workers

October 19, 2011

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sixty-five percent of South Sudan’s state workers may have falsified their credentials or be unqualified, and the government has started a campaign to root them out, Deputy Information Minister Atem Yaak Atem said.

Many state workers got their jobs through family connections, while others presented forged documents claiming false educational credentials, Atem said today in an interview in Juba, capital of newly independent South Sudan. The public sector, he said, is “in shambles.”

“There are a lot of people with degrees that haven’t even completed high school,” he said. “Some of us will go to extra lengths and send an e-mail to that institution, and if the answer is no, the next thing is to prosecute that person, because this is fraud.”

South Sudan plans to spend about 42 percent of its almost $2 billion budget this year on salaries. President Salva Kiir has vowed to fight corruption and increase transparency. The country gained control of about 75 percent of Sudan’s oil production when it seceded in July. Kiir has promised to force government officials to publish details of their finances and to regulate land sales.

The Ministry of Labour and Public Service has found 21 of its senior staff members who held forged academic documents, Atem said.

“I have a feeling they could be in the thousands,” he said, referring to all ministries. “For this job I think I will need a bodyguard. Some people will be very angry if we take drastic measures.”

Atem said government ministries received a letter last week ordering them to begin the screening process on civil servants. Each ministry must set up a committee chaired by deputy ministers.

The government said this month it is implementing monthly cash limits for spending agencies. Further steps effective from next month include controls over payments to vendors and the signing of government contracts.

--Editors: Karl Maier, Ben Holland

To contact the reporter on this story: Jared Ferrie in Juba, South Sudan, at jferrie1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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