Yesterday, the President, the Secretary of State, and the Department of the Treasury announced targeted sanctions against South Sudanese National, Benjamin Bol Mel and three of his companies relating to the Administration’s implementation of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The United States is taking this action given Mr. Bol Mel’s role, and that of his business network, in facilitating corruption. He is a close associate of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and used his high-level connections to regularly engage in large scale government contracts worth millions of dollars for construction work that was not completed.
A report with additional details on Mr. Bol Mel’s acts of corruption will be submitted to the Federal Register.
While much of South Sudan’s population suffers from violence and hunger, a small coterie of elites continues to enrich itself. Acts of corruption undermine the values that form the essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals, weaken democratic institutions, degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts, facilitate the activities of other dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The people of South Sudan have had to endure conflict and the humanitarian catastrophe it brings; the United States stands ready to take additional action against those who profit from this catastrophe, including those who facilitate the actions of corrupt officials.