Authorities in South Sudan’s Lakes state have instructed ministers operating government bank account with the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) to immediately close them down.
The Lakes state minister of finance, trade and industry, Daniel Gumwel Nhomabur, has confirmed receiving the new and abrupt instruction from the national government in Juba.
No explanation was given to the state government about the decision by Stephen Dhieu Dau, the national minister of finance and economic planning, to close down the government’s accounts with the KCB.
But Lakes State Minister Nhomabur further explained that the directive further said all government accounts are to be opened in the Ivory Bank with effect from October.
“We are told by national ministry of finance in Juba to close down all our government accounts [in] KCB [Kenya Commercial Bank]. These instructions are from top authorities in Juba and we have to respect them. All government institutions must open new bank accounts with Ivory Bank with effect [from] this month,” said the state finance minister, Nhomabur
However, KCB Rumbek’s branch manager, John Makoi Marial, said although the bank has received the notification to close down the government accounts, there was still a discussion going on to resolve the matter.
He also revealed that the government has taken huge loans from the KCB and also some individual senior government officials took loans from the bank which they have not yet repaid.
The bank official further pointed out that the KCB management and the government will sort out the issues and instructions will be sent to all KCB branches in South Sudan on how to operate if the government decided to close down their accounts in the bank.
KCB is one of the first foreign banks to establish their branches in South Sudan even before the country became independent in July 2011. It has opened many branches in different states in the young country.
It was unclear what prompted the government to decide to close down its accounts with the Kenya bank.