February 13, 2018 (MELBOURNE) – The Australian Federal Police last week launched proceedings seeking to seize a million-dollar Melbourne mansion owned by General James Hoth Mai, the former South Sudanese army chief of staff, it has emerged.
- Former SPLA chief of general staff James Hoth Mai (Photo Larco Lomayat)
The case against Mai came after The Sentry, in its September 2016 investigative report, entitled “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay: Stopping the Looting and Destruction in South Sudan,” shed light on the General’s luxury property in Melbourne’s suburb of Narre Warren.
The Sentry’s report said South Sudan’s top officials and armed group leaders, including Mai, amassed and offshored millions of dollars while fueling conflict and atrocities in the world’s youngest nation.
The report claimed Mai paid $1.5 million in cash for a mansion in Melbourne’s southeast in 2014.
“This should be seen as a warning to those who loot public coffers and park their assets abroad. The Government of Australia and Australian Federal Police should be applauded,” said J.R. Mailey, an investigations director at The Sentry, said:
He added, “Governments around the world need to ramp up asset-tracing and recovery efforts to make sure that those responsible for continued atrocities in South Sudan can no longer operate with impunity.”
Brian Adeba, the deputy director of Policy at the Enough Project said the numerous allegations of corruption against top officials demands that the government of South Sudan should launch its own investigations and take concrete actions.
“By showing such a commitment, the government can begin to restore public faith in its actions,” he added.
The ex-army chief, sources told Sudan Tribune, is due to appear in an Australian court on 27 February following an inquiry into his luxurious mansion.