Sudanese businessman fuelling corruption in South Sudan: report
Ashraf Seed Ahmed, a Sudanese businessman, remains a major enabler of corruption and violence for President Salva Kiir’s government, a new report said Monday.
The investigative report by The Sentry entitled, “Al-Cardinal: South Sudan’s Original Oligarch” says the Sudanese national has mastered the art of doing business in a state riddled with corruption.
It stated that since 2006, the Sudanese businessman widely known as Al-Cardinal has exploited opaque procurement processes, weak oversight institutions and cozy relationships with the country’s most powerful politicians to line his own pockets.
Without concerted pressure from the international community, the businessman will remain a major enabler of corruption and violence for President Salva Kiir’s government, according to the report.
The new report also implicated the businessman in major procurement scandals, private businesses with military generals and imports of military equipment during the civil war.
In 2014, the report said, Al-Cardinal imported armoured vehicles from Russia and that the imported armoured vehicles were deployed against civilians in Upper Nile and Unity states.
Also, in 2017, according to the report, the government of South Sudan committed to pay Al-Cardinal more than three million barrels in crude oil for the company’s provision of undisclosed goods and services, while a year later it agreed to pay the Al-Cardinal company U$299 million for similarly ambiguous services.
“Al-Cardinal has built a corporate empire on the back of predatory business dealings in South Sudan. He now has business operations from Ethiopia to the United States and owns expensive real estate in places like London and Dubai,” said George Clooney, Co-Founder of The Sentry.
Clooney called on governments around the world to take action against the Sudanese businessman.
Meanwhile, The Sentry urged the US Treasury Department to investigate Al-Cardinal’s activities and, if appropriate, place him under sanctions, along with his network of companies and associates.
It further said South Sudanese authorities must create clear benchmarks for institutional reform that outline progress during specified periods.
Mr. Ashraf Seed Ahmed could not immediately be reached for comment.