October 12, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – The United States on Friday imposed major sanctions against two businessmen Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal from Sudan and Kur Ajing Ater South Sudan for their involvement in corruption in South Sudan
- Ashraf Al-Cardinal
In a statement issued on Friday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that Al-Cardinal and Ajing were involved in bribery, kickbacks and procurement fraud with senior government officials.
The U.S. further has put sanctions on five companies owned or controlled by Al-Cardinal and one company-owned or controlled by Ajing.
“OFAC designated these individuals and entities pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption”.
“These South Sudanese elites and corrupt government officials have drained state coffers and usurped the country’s resources with impunity. Al-Cardinal and Ajing leverage their businesses and political connections to engage in corruption at great expense to the South Sudanese people,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
The Treasury said that Al-Cardinal has served as an intermediary for senior South Sudanese officials to deposit and hold a large amount of funds in a country outside of South Sudan.
In early 2019, the South Sudanese government made millions of dollars in payments to a company owned by Al-Cardinal; received money for the payment for food, or for supplies and provisions, government forces but the money went to the pockets of government officials.
Al-Cardinal was implicated in the importation of amphibious armoured fighting vehicles the South Sudanese army used to extend military operations and attacks on civilians, the Treasury said.
Al-Cardinal’s companies are: Alcardinal General Trading Limited, Alcardinal General Trading LLC, Al Cardinal Investments Co. LTD, Alcardinal Petroleum Company limited, and NILETEL.
Ajing, also, signed fictive contracts with senior government officials and repaid the latter.
The Treasury said that the South Sudanese businessman received large amounts of oil and gave money and vehicles to government officials in return. Or, he signed a multi-year contract to purchase food for the South Sudanese military, and in return, paid a percentage of the contract back to a senior official.
The State Department welcomed the targeted sanctions imposed on the two businessmen saying their corrupt activities robbed critical resources from a war-torn country.
We urge the Government of South Sudan to take seriously the clear linkage between corrupt activities and the motive of some elites to disrupt the peace agreement, the implementation of which has reached a critical stage.
The Sentry, an investigation group, applauded the sanctions on the two businessmen pointing to its recent report that detailed Al-Cardinal illegal activities with the senior South Sudanese officials.
“This action by the Treasury Department is an important step forward in creating some accountability for those who have long thought they can loot South Sudan with impunity,” said John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry.