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US official in Africa to discuss illicit cash flows from South Sudan

A top US official is visiting east and central Africa to discuss the illicit financial flows from South Sudan.

The Department of Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Ms Sigal Mandelker, was in Uganda on Monday and was scheduled to proceed to Nairobi and DR Congo to also discuss the freezing of the assets of the South Sudan leaders blacklisted by Washington over alleged corruption and the fuelling of the conflict in the young nation.

According to a statement seen by the media, Ms Mandelker’s visit would focus on how the neighbouring countries could stop the financial flows from South Sudan and the DR Congo.

A lobby group

“This trip represents an historic step for a senior Treasury official in engagement in sub-Saharan Africa and can potentially make a major impact on these long-standing crises by showing how strategic tools of financial pressure can increase US leverage and mark a break from previously ineffective approaches,” a lobby group, the Enough Project, said.

Enough Project further said the US top official would highlight the need for Kampala to act against the laundering of the proceeds of corruption from South Sudan into Uganda.

“Actions in Uganda to seize the proceeds of corruption and stop the flow of ill-gotten gains are necessary to punish South Sudan’s leaders toward peace.

Rebel leader

“The US Under Secretary Mandelker should reiterate that failure by Uganda to address these issues will be met with an escalating set of pressures,” the group said.

The US has sanctioned multiple South Sudanese officials in the past for profiting from the war in the young nation. They include Mr Michael Makuei, the Information minister, Gen Gabriel Jok Riak, the Army Chief of Staff, and Gen Malek Reuben.

Also sanctioned are rebel leader Gen Paul Malong and the Defence and Cabinet Affairs ministers, Gen Kuol Manyang Juuk and Dr Elia Lomoro, respectively.

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