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DEFUNCT, NRA Board defends fired revenue chief

By Jale Richard

The defunct board of the National Revenue Authority has defended the fired commissioner General Dr. Olympio Attipoe from any wrong doing.

The board is said to have met last evening to deliberate on the decision of the Minister of Finance who fired the Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority last Friday.

“The issues are that the commissioner general had been consistently violating our laws such as Public Financial Management and Accountability act 2011 which stipulates that all transactions of public nature must be according to the public management and accountability act… he is the only signature which cannot be allowed anywhere including in this country,” Mabiordit said.

“Secondly he opened the single treasury account without permission from the ministry of finance who will again request the central bank to open the account on their behalf and at the end of every fiscal year it is the central bank that closes the accounts on the requests of ministry of finance.”

“He went even as far as Mombasa and opened the account in USD when he was confronted by a member of the board, he rejected it, he even denied that he did not do it. Later on, he agreed that he was there to facilitate tis movement. How he did it, we don’t know,” Minister Mabiordit added.

But the defunct board members said the activities of the former director general were all sanctioned by the board members.

They said the single accounts were opened according to a resolution of the board members, and that the ministry of finance was well informed.

The board also said the commissioner general was not the only signatory to the accounts of the NRA as had been said by the finance minister. They said the deputy commissioner general, the director general of accounts of the ministry of finance and planning, are all signatories to the NRA accounts.

About the alleged Mombasa accounts, the board said they authorized opening of the account to correspond to the one they had in Juba.

Last week, Dr. Olympio Attipoe’s contract as the Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority was terminated by the Minister of Finance and Planning Salvatore Garang Mabiordit.

The Board of Directors of NRA was also dissolved. The decision caused mixed reactions from some members of the public since there was no immediate reason given by the Finance Minister.

However, Minister Garang later said he dismissed Attipoe, for consistently ignoring orders from the Ministry of Finance, and that he had opened an account in Mombasa, Kenya for collection of revenues without the knowledge of the Finance Ministry.

Since his appointment in 2018, Attipoe embarked on reforming the tax collection system putting in place measures to curb corruption.

Since January this year, the NRA has been announcing increasing revenue collection from the country’s non-oil revenues.

He established the Single Treasury Account, a public accounting system under which all government revenues, receipts, and income are collected into a single account.

In March this year, Dr. Olympio Attipoe, the former commissioner-general of South Sudan National Revenue Authority threatened to publicly shame government and bank officials who steal tax revenue.

The former revenue boss also helped in opening Single Treasury Accounts and tax harmonization for various states including Jonglei, Torit, Gbudue, Jubek, and others.

But in June, Attipoe was forced to publically respond to what he called “rumors” orchestrated by some government officials at the Ministry of Finance to frustrate his efforts.

He said such people did not want the efforts of President Salva Kiir to succeed in seeing the country set up structures to manage public finances.

In July this year, Dr. Attipoe revoked exempt status of a multi-million dollar road construction company.

The Ghanaian national was appointed as part of the revenue mobilization project funded by the African Development Bank.

The project aims at building and establishing strong institutions to properly manage non-oil revenues.

 

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