A research group is urging Kenya, Uganda and the US to investigate and seize corruption proceeds from South Sudan that have been invested in real estate in the region.
Nearly 2 years ago, an investigation by The Sentry identified properties in Nairobi and Kampala in the possession of South Sudanese current and former senior officials.
The Sentry says Kenya and Uganda have the legal authority and means to locate, investigate, and — if warranted — seize these properties.
John Prendergast, the Co-Founder of The Sentry, said new financial pressures would disrupt the lifestyle of any South Sudanese officials found to have engaged in corruption.
“Investigating, and if appropriate, seizing these homes would provide tremendous leverage for the peace process, and would be a critical step toward accountability for the systematic looting and mass atrocities committed since the country’s independence in 2011,” he said.
The Sentry recommended that Kenyan and Ugandan Authorities could open investigations into the identified properties and work with US law enforcement to coordinate joint cases.
“East Africa’s Banks could proactively flag high-value real estate transactions by South Sudanese elites and increase due diligence measures when transacting with Juba-based government officials, their families, and their proxies,” read a statement by the Sentry.
It also said the United States Law Enforcement could launch independent investigations to determine if properties in Kenya and Uganda were bought in US dollars with the proceeds of corruption.
United States Treasury Department could declare the purchase of real estate outside South Sudan by government-connected elites to be a primary money-laundering concern, it added.