The NECC, in conjunction with the FCO and the DfID, has published an alert on the illicit finance risks associated with South Sudan.

The National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, has published an alert on the illicit finance risks associated with South Sudan. It highlights the red flags that members of the regulated sector and others should be aware of when seeking to do business in South Sudan or with South Sudanese entities.

Graeme Biggar, NECC Director General said: “Corrupt actors and criminal groups are known to exploit the UK regulated sector. They do so to launder the proceeds of crime through the UK, or to conceal the origins of their wealth within the UK. The UK regulated sector plays a vital role in the early identification of such activity. We hope this alert will raise awareness, so that we can work together to stop the proceeds of corruption from South Sudan entering the UK.”

Mr Chris Trott, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to South Sudan, said “The civil war in South Sudan has claimed the lives of over 380,000 since 2013. It has been characterised by terrible human rights abuses, including the deliberate targeting of civilians, the use of rape as a weapon of war, and forced recruitment of child soldiers. Over 4 million people, a third of the population, have been displaced.

“The conflict has been fuelled by corruption. Many political and military elites have used their positions to loot the country’s natural resources, including revenues from oil and gas, to enrich themselves and fund continued fighting; in some instances has funded militias and arms purchases, despite the 2018 UN arms embargo. Corruption has not only prolonged the conflict but held back development. Over half the population require emergency food assistance and violence and humanitarian access restrictions mean that there is a risk of famine in some areas, a crisis exacerbated by recent, extraordinary flooding.

“A revitalised peace agreement was signed in September 2018, which has reduced violence and offers a chance for peace. But the agreement is fragile. There are few incentives for the elites and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to change their behaviour and commit to long-term peace.

“We need the private sector to take a balanced approach of enhanced due diligence whilst ensuring a continued flow of licit funds and investment into South Sudan. This is particularly important not only for international organisations on whom the country and its economy depend, but also the families whose livelihoods depend on remittances and legitimate business.

“Unless we as the public and private sector work together on such an approach, South Sudan will be trapped in a never-ending cycle of impunity, with its people being the ones that pay the price.”

06 March 2020