KHARTOUM (Sudanow)- For months now the public had used to eagerly wait for declarations every Thursday of decisions by the high-level committee assigned to trace and retrieve government money stolen by operatives of the defunct regime under their notorious drive known as tamkeen (literally empowering themselves, the Islamists).
And when the committee would miss one of those ‘Thursdays’, the public would be disappointed and start to ask: “Why?” Here the committee would often find itself obliged to respond that it is working hard and it is not necessary to reveal thefts every ‘Thursday”.
Its spokesperson, Lawyer Wajdi Salih, widely adored by the public, last week announced that they have already received two-truck loads of papers of the defunct regime corruption documents and that the branch committees were working hard investigating and digging for the hidden acts of corruption and once a certain case is ripe, it would be made public.
The public eagerness for unearthing the deviations of the defunct regime is perhaps justified in that the public was disappointed over the slow action of the law committees investigating the other crimes of that regime, starting from the 1989 military coup that aborted Sudan’s democracy, down to the summary trials and executions of the regime opponents both military and civilian, not forgetting the hot issue of the wanton crime of the 3 June, 2019 criminal breaking of the sit-in around the Army General Command in which hundreds were killed, maimed or considered missing.
As could have been seen so far from the committee’s investigations and declarations, the clique that ruled the Sudan in the guise of religion, had contaminated the entire government system with corruption and that what was already revealed was just the tip of the iceberg.
The rulers of the so-called Engaz (Salvation) regime had made vast riches at the expense of the people of Sudan. That usurped money and properties was at the expense of public health, education and other essential services. Public money was stolen in a manner unprecedented in the history of the independent Sudan.
The high-level Tamkeen Removal Committee is made up of two members of the Sovereignty State (namely military Member , Lt. General Yasir Alata and civilian member Mohammad Alfaki Suleman). It also comprises government ministers, representatives of the ministries of Defence, the Interior, Justice , Finance, Federal Rule, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, the General Intelligence, the political and social Forces of Freedom and Chalge (FFC) that led the revolution against the Bashir rule and the Attorney General Chamber.
The committee is guided by a law that stipulated in its first chapter the dissolution of the ruling National Congress Party and, accordingly, the seizing and confiscation of the assets of Party and its tributaries. The assets thus seized automatically became the property of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
The law has also authorized the committee to dissolve any government or partisan organ, organization, society, trade or students union, commission, company (private or public) and any political , economic security branch of the defunct National Congress Party.
Samples Of The Committee Decisions:
In just six months, the Committee had achieved a lot of its jobs. The most outstanding of these was the dissolution of the Islamic Da’awa (Call) Organisation and the transfer of its vast assets to the Ministry of Finance, a decision considered by observers a qualitative move in the drive to hit the financial might of the Islamists. The Organisation is commonly seen as the state that ruled the country from behind the scenes. Here it is enough to say that the first statement of the coup leader Omar Albashir was filmed at the quarters of this Organisation on 30 June, 1989.
Committee spokesperson Wajdi Salih said the dissolution and the confiscation of this Organisation was never meant to hamper the preaching of Islam but was, rather, “a correction of a faulty situation that continued ever since the Organisation was first founded.”
“The Organisation was a centre of investments and commercial work and had enjoyed all types of government exemptions: customs and taxes, whereas Islamic work had occupied just five percent of its activities,” said Salih.
He said the Organisation was also given a free hand to deal in foreign exchange, transfer funds to and from the Sudan and enjoyed diplomatic immunity for its personnel.
He said the Organisation had virtually controlled the economy of the Sudan.
In another decision the Committee has also dissolved the boards of the Central Bank and those of other commercial banks. It also recommended the dismissal of the managers of several banks.
The commission for the registration of the youth and sports institutions in Khartoum was also dissolved by the Committee. Several other organisations were also dissolved and their assets confiscated.
At the level of individuals, the Committee has confiscated a lot of properties from Abdelbasit Hamza, a symbolic figure in the Islamists business empire, together with the properties of former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Karti, former police chief, General Mohammad Najeeb and his wife Hind, who news leakages had tied them to Widad Babiker, Bashir’s second wife.
In the process, hundreds of residential land plots and buildings were confiscated from those individuals, in addition to vast arable lands.
The list also includes properties of former minister of defence, General Abdelrahim Mohammad Hussein and a number of Bashir’s brothers, in-laws and relatives.
The list also contains hotels, companies, real estates, and financial assets that belonged to the government of Sudan which were usually made to carry Islamic signboards.
In addition, the public was stunned to see that the dissolved National Congress Party had owned its own passenger plane.
At the level of the public service, the Committee has so far laid off hundreds of persons who assumed government offices in sensitive government bodies without qualifications, other than that they were supporters of the regime.
The Committee has also laid off 109 ambassadors and diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some 651 employees in different government bodies were already dismissed in addition to 98 legal counsellors from the Ministry of Justice who were found to have been employed without due qualifications.
In another development The High-level Economic assigned to straighten the economy, has taken a long-awaited decision to investigate the privatization of the Sudan Telecommunications Corporation, a dossier thought to contain countless irregularities and festering corruption.
Sudanese Stolen Money Overseas:
As from what had already been seen, the High Committee work did not cover but the last years when Bashir’s family and their cronies had controlled the economy.
Corruption did not start there. Systematic corruption had started from day one of Bashir’s rule and heightened in the heyday of the oil years when money rained in on the rulers and brought with it lots of investors from outside the country. That period, in particular, had seen unfathomable corruption and the theft of public money.
Most of the “thieves” of that era had established a lot of investments in the overseas with huge figures. This requires a lot of effort to restore that stolen money.
The Attorney General says tracing that money and has received encouraging signals from foreign governments and organisations.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is reportedly heading the committee tracing and seeking the retrieval of that money from abroad.
As early as when PM Hamdok had taken the oath of office, he reportedly received promises from the Western countries to help the country restore the stolen funds.
For one, the US Government in February seized properties of the notorious former chief of the state security Salah Abdallah Goush and banned him and his wife and daughter from entering the US. The US Government had said the man was accused of human rights violations and has no place within its territories. It, however, remains to be seen the quantity of money Goush had stashed in American banks or the other properties he owned there. But the man is known to have been in control of tens of companies belonging to the state security.
Other figures of the Bashir regime, including Bashir himself, have been leaked to have over a 100 billion Dollars in foreign banks and businesses.
If retrieved, this money would make a difference in the economy of the country.
Spending Of The Locally Retrieved Money:
The Bashir regime corruption had defamed Sudan quite much. It is enough to say that Sudan had used to rank second or third in terms of corruption in the annual ratings of the global Transparency International for the last decade.
Domestically, this corruption had hampered the country’s economy and its development a great deal.
Lots of money retrieved locally has reportedly helped the government meet some of its spending.
In a statement, High Committee Member, Member of the Sovereignty Council, Mohammad Alfaki said they were happy that the retrieved sums had helped in the pay increase of the civil servants (more than five folds) and the establishment of the Sovereign Fund sought to spend on development and boost the educational and health services and stabilize the economy.
Faki revelations were seconded by Finance Minister Ibrahim Albadawi who said the retrieved local sums would contribute to the funding of the new job restructuring and would help enhance the life of 7 million persons (the civil servants and their dependents).
Badawi also said the retrieved sums have boosted the national budget with 128 billion Sudanese pounds.
High Committee Member Taha Osman said the vacant posts resulting from the purges in the civil service will be open for free competition for qualified Sudanese “in implementation of the revolution’s motto: Freedom, Peace and Justice.”
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