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WARNING-Don’t report MPs’ cash transaction

By James Atem Kuir

The Chairperson-designate of Information Committee in the Revitalized Transitional Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) has strongly warned media houses against reporting on the payment of the country lawmakers without authorization from the highest office of the august house.

Paul Yoane Bonju, the house information chairperson-designate, warned of severe consequences including ‘stern’ legal suit and withdrawal of operation licenses for any media house that will insist on reporting financial transaction of the house without the consent of the speaker or deputy speaker.

“ For example, reporting on emoluments of members of parliament without the consent from the Right Honourable Speaker or Right Honourable Deputy Speaker in charge of administration and finance would not be entertained; surely it would attract stern legal procedure against whosoever is involved,” the lawmaker bluntly warned.

“Please avoid eyeing the emoluments of the members of this parliament. It has never happened in any part of the world that media houses focus on the emoluments of the parliament. Emoluments are not collected from illegal source. It is enshrined in the Transitional Constitution as per 70 sub article (1) which says members of the National Legislature shall be paid emoluments and provided facilities as determined by law,” he added.

As required by the 2018 peace accord, the two houses of South Sudan Transitional National Legislature, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and the Council of States were recently reconstituted expanded to 550 and 100 each accommodate members of various opposition groups signatory to the peace deal.

In their first two joint session late last month, the parliamentarians were directed to open bank accounts to receive ‘settlement funds’ by Jemma Nunu Kumba the Speaker of the house, the reconstituted TNLA.

“I have directed the administration of the two houses (R-TNLA and R- Council of States) to work out little funds for the settlement of MPs, although the other portion will be paid later,”  Kumba was quoted as saying in last month.

“Some of the members here have no bank accounts to transfer money to, so please open yours for money to be transferred before the end of this week, and the remaining portion will follow later,” Speaker Kumba added according to Juba Monitor’s news article published on September 1.

But Mr. Paul Bonju argued – without explaining- that disseminating information on payment of financial bonuses to lawmakers would ‘antagonize’ public against their representative.

He threatened that a media house would have its license revoked if it did not stop unauthorized dissemination of information on parliamentary financial transactions.

“Making such exercise in a country like South Sudan implies antagonizing the public against their representatives with diverse consequences. Any media house that is interested to go that way should be reminded that it is hurriedly working to have its license withdrawn. We don’t intend to reach that far unless provoked,” he said.

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