In 2018, President Kiir appointed Dr. Olympio Attipoe, a Ghanaian national, as the commissioner general of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) with the mandate of assessing, collecting, administrating and enforcing laws relating to taxation and revenue. Since his appointment, Eye Radio has been keeping the public informed about the progress made by the NRA. Dr. Attipoe was known for his public announcement of the NRA’s income and the revocation of several multi-million-dollar companies’ tax-exempt statuses. Some government officials did not welcome his reforms.
In September 2019, a ministerial order dated August 23, 2019, issued by the Minister of Finance and Planning, Salvatore Garang, terminated Dr. Attipoe’s contract as commissioner general of the NRA. He was subsequently deported from South Sudan.
Following the dismissal of Dr. Attipoe, Eye Radio interviewed the acting NRA commissioner, Erjok Bullen Geu, who said that the NRA would no longer be announcing the monthly collection, stating that it never should have happened in the first place.
“The former CG [Commissioner General] was announcing what we collect every month, this is not allowed by law,” he told Eye Radio. For several months, the public heard no updates about the NRA’s income.
In November 2019, Eye Radio published a document obtained by an anonymous source, which showed an illegal bank transfer by the NRA. The document illustrated that the non-oil revenue block account at Stanbic Bank has transactions that are not in compliance with the NRA Act of 2016 and the R-ARCSS, signed in 2018. According to the NRA Act, the NRA receives no more than 2% of total non-oil revenue collections for operational costs. The transfer documents obtained from Stanbic Bank show more than 84% of total non-oil revenue collection in September 2019 was transferred to the NRA operations account.
Eye Radio’s report on this development forced the acting commissioner to explain the bank transfers to the public. Erjok Bullen Geu threatened Eye Radio for reporting on this, but the Media Authority defended Eye Radio and dismissed the case against them. The Media Authority advised the NRA acting commissioner to respect media freedom in South Sudan.
Some of Eye Radio’s headlines on this story:
- Finance minister fires NRA boss
- NRA’s move to keep taxpayers in the dark criticized
- More questions emerge as NRA explains away ‘suspicious bank transfers’
Eye Media is a 100% South Sudanese media development organization, which runs Eye Radio 98.6 FM, the most popular radio station in Juba. Since 2013, Eye Media has support from the USAID-funded i-STREAM project, implemented by Internews. Eye Radio’s team of investigative journalists are dedicated to uncovering stories that matter most to their listeners.
(Banner photo: National Revenue Authority’s logo)