A High Court judge in Juba, who appears to have had enough with the never-ending cases of forgery and theft in the Office of the President of South Sudan (OOPSS), has ordered the President to ‘change his official signature’ or else he [the President] and his OOPSS will be held accountable for making it too easy to rob and loot resources that legally belong to the struggling state.

The judge made the announcement a few days ago around the time of the sentencing to life-imprisonment of 16 former OOPSS staff-members who helped themselves to a mere $14 million appropriated from that office.

Change signature or be held responsible for making it too easy for thieves to loot state resources

It is reported that there are around 67 OOPSS-related cases under investigation in Juba alone mostly pertaining to forgery of the president’s easy four-letter signature. Nobody knows or dares to guess how many other similar cases have gone unreported or have been ‘dealt with internally’.

Other cases under investigation by the judiciary – filed by and against the OOPSS – include the loss or (mis-)appropriation of money and property; false statements, decrees and appointments that appeared to have originated from the OOPSS but could not be traced back to that office; and unpaid hotel bills left behind by ‘VIP guests of the OOPSS’.

It is unclear whether two weeks is enough time for President Kiir to come up with a new signature. However, sources close to the OOPSS say Pres Kiir had already considered changing his signature a couple of times before, but was told by advisors that all the many many peace and cooperation agreements bearing that signature be invalidated as a result.

As always, Saakam will keep you updated as soon as the OOPSS unveils the new presidential signature.