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S. Sudanese students’ coronavirus funds go missing in Morocco.

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ABRAHAM KUANY -The South Sudanese students Union in the Kingdom of Morocco says it’s left in penury after the embassy’s failure to pay students’ COVID-19 incentives meant to support them during the lockdown activated the global pandemic.   

According to the students’ Union there, there are more than 400 South Sudanese on various government scholarships.

In April this year, South Sudan’s Council of Ministers approved $3 million meant to support South Sudanese students on government scholarships abroad.

They include students in Ethiopia, China, India, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Serbia, Egypt, among others.  

Weeks after approval, Denay Chagor – the minister of higher education announced publicly that it’s received $1 million out of the allocated $3 million students’ funds.

According to the Students’ Union in Morocco, $ 33,000 of the funds were allocated to cater for their welfare.

As of Wednesday, Morocco which is currently on a lockdown registered 10, 344 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 8,407 recoveries and 214 deaths.

But since April, students say they have not received their allocated portion.

With the imposed continuous lockdown by Moroccan’s government, students say it has worsened their situation, due to inadequate food, accumulation of water and electricity bills, among others.

Ambrose Madut Madut, the Union’s President revealed in a communiqué on Tuesday that even though the funds were transacted to the Embassy’s account in May, they have not received the funds up to date. 

“Two diplomats in the Embassy’s Office, Mr. John Majak, Mr. Jukeria Andrea and I went to the Bank and we were unable to withdraw the money because the Bank said the money was huge and it was sent individually without official documentation from South Sudan,” said Madut 

Based on the Bank’s restrictions, the money was resent back to South Sudan on 29th May after a full week follow up, according to the Union’s President.

Mr. Madut stated that the Union is now worried after receiving a reply from Foreign Affairs Ministry stating that it didn’t receive the funds. This was after the Union wrote to the ministry inquiring on the where-abouts of the funds. 

“On 22nd June, we received a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Office of the Administration and Finance that they have not received the money yet,” the Union’s President said. 

“This really makes us so worried and stranded. Therefore, I suggest and humbly request that there should be seriousness in follow ups and if that money is received back in South Sudan,” he added. 

Madut recommends that the money should be sent individually to the students since there was communication disparity between the two institutions.

“It should be sent individually to students since we have already sent our names and passport numbers if there is no understanding between South Sudan and Morocco in transacting the huge funds of such a kind,”

He added “The reason why this money was budgeted for us, still exist; COVID-19 and the lockdown”

An authentic document directed to the South Sudan Mission in Morocco signed by Amb. Samuel Luate Lominsuk, Director General of Administration and Finance indicates the money which was sent and resent back to the Ministry’s account was not visible in the account up to this week. 

“As of today (22nd June), a representative from the Department of Finance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs went to the Bank and found that the money has not been accredited to the Ministry’s account,” the statement reads. 

The Director General added “The Ministry will continue to follow up this case and will update you (students) of the status accordingly” 

South Sudanese students in India, Egypt, and other countries have expressed the same concerns over failure by the higher ministry and respective embassies to pay their cash.

Various students abroad are now left in anarchy yet authorities in Juba seem to have allegedly embezzled their incentives.

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