Lomuro retracts remarks on alleged special projects account in office of President

The Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lumuro on Monday claimed to have been misrepresented by the media on his recent remarks, in which he was quoted to have said that the Office of the President holds an account for special projects.
Minister for Cabinet Affairs Martin Elias Lumuro, speaks during a press conference held in Juba on Monday (Photo Awan Achiek)

By Awan Achiek

The Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lumuro on Monday claimed to have been misrepresented by the media on his recent remarks, in which he was quoted to have said that the Office of the President holds an account for special projects.

“My statement in some areas has been presented and reported out of context. I did not say that the Office of the President is holding an account for payment of special budgets, I did not say that,” Lumuro told journalists at a press conference held at his office in Juba.

The minister appeared last week for questioning before MPs in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) over allegations that his ministry diverted 10 million U.S dollars meant for key electoral institutions such as the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC), National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC), and the National Human Rights Council (NHRC) and the Judicial Review Commission (JRC).

Lomuro while responding to the lawmakers had hinted that the money was channeled to the account of special projects on the directive of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

In his latest statement he said he meant “President Salva Kiir holds special files to address any issue in the country and those special files are assigned to him”.

“I hold and I’m assigned a special file that contributes to the implementation of this (peace) agreement. This special file, I say payment for this special file is through a special project account in the Ministry of Government Affairs, not in the Office of the President,” Lomuro said.

He clarified that the 10 million dollars meant for peace mechanisms was channeled to the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs’ account not to the account of the Office of the President.

“This should be clear and I said this special file has been with me for the last two years and it comes to an end in September this year. The file is with me, and the account is in the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs not the Office of the President,” Lomuro said.

He urged journalists to listen and report accurately in order to avoid complication that leads to confusion within government institutions.

“And the purpose of this press statement is to clear what was reported by some of the media houses. We are not avoiding journalists to interview us at all, but when we are interviewed we would like to be reflected correctly,” Lomuro disclosed.

According to the audit findings by lawmakers, the money meant for peace mechanisms was diverted to pay for peace activities involving the armed opposition National Salvation Front (NAS) led by Thomas Cirilo Swaka (1.05 million USD), and Tut Gatluak Manime, the Presidential Advisor on National Security (2 million USD) to facilitate implementation of Phase II of the Security Arrangement and other unspecified amount were paid to 9BR Chambers -a London based law firm.

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