World’s Newest Nation Jails 16 for Stealing From Its President

A South Sudanese court sentenced 16 people to life in prison after they were found guilty of stealing more than $14 million from President Salva Kiir’s office, a defense lawyer said.

The men were found guilty of forging signatures of officials and stealing the funds between 2013 and 2015, lawyer Agok Makur, who represented 10 of the accused, said by phone. Those sentenced were a member of staff at the Finance Ministry, an employee of the central bank and four Kenyans, while the remainder had been working as presidential aides. Makur said he’d appeal the sentences given to some of his clients.

Oil-producing South Sudan is emerging from an almost 30-month civil war that’s left tens of thousands of people dead and forced more than 2 million others to flee their homes. The conflict has only worsened living conditions for one of the world’s poorest nations, where there are almost no paved roads outside the capital, Juba, and at least half the population of 12 million lives in poverty.

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