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'Legal action against saboteurs': Sudan govt.

November 21 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Finance Minister Mohamed Osman El Rikabi in his address to journalists on 20 November 2017 (Al Jazeera)
Finance Minister Mohamed Osman El Rikabi in his address to journalists on 20 November 2017 (Al Jazeera)

The government of President Omar Al Bashir announced that it will take legal action against money laundering and actions that would sabotage the national economy, such as unregulated foreign exchange dealing and non-payment of export royalties.

Government officials, in a meeting chaired by President Al Bashir, discussed the exchange rate control measures and legal measures against foreign currency dealers on Monday. Finance Minister Mohamed Osman El Rikabi informed the press afterwards that several decisions were taken, such as stopping government companies' purchase of foreign currency requests, rationalising travel of government bodies and companies and conditioning these travels with approval of the Cabinet.

“Strict legal measures will be taken by specialised prosecutors in dealing with foreign exchange, smuggling subsidised goods, gold, and export commodities,” El Rikabi stated. Currency brokers and smugglers who dodge paying export royalties may also expect more legal measures.

Attorney-General Omar Ahmed Mohamed confirmed that legal action will be taken against foreign exchange dealers “immediately”: “This action is a sabotage of the national economy.” Mohamed said that these legal actions, as well as prosecutions of smugglers, will be done with the knowledge of the public.

Director of the Central Bank of Sudan, Hazim Abdelgadir, added that a decision was taken to review the policies of the purchase and export of gold by private companies in Sudan. The meeting decided to activate all regulatory laws on dealing with foreign exchange and banking activity in general.

“There will be very strict measures on exporters who do not return the obtained revenues to the country,” Abdelgadir said.


Sudan is reportedly one of the most corrupt countries in the world according to the international NGO Transparency International that researches corruption worldwide. It scored 14 points out of 100 on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index the NGO reported.

Corruption is present in all sectors and across all branches and levels of government in Sudan. In addition, Sudan has a legal anti-corruption framework in place but faces major implementation challenges in practice. Examples Transparency International mentioned are public servants demanding bribes for services that individuals or companies are legally entitled to; government officials holding direct and indirect stakes in many enterprises; and the head of state and government believed to have embezzled up to US$9 billion from oil revenues.

Pound devaluation

Today, 13 ministers of the economic sector and the Central Bank director will appear before the parliamentary economic affairs committee, to discuss the country's economic developments, and the current crisis of the devaluation of the Sudanese Pound against foreign currencies.

The Sudanese Pound has continued its plunge against the U.S. Dollar, marking a historic rate of SDG28 in the black market last Thursday. Economic experts said it may well exceed SDG30 in the coming period. Some have repeatedly said that the Bank of Sudan indirectly floats the Sudanese Pound

Meanwhile people in various states expressed their discontent about the soaring food and consumer good prices. In Khartoum, the price of a 50kg sack of sugar has risen from SDG520 ($77) to SDG680 ($101) – the price for imported sacks of sugar rose from SDG550 ($82) to SDG650 ($97).

Comparatively in El Fasher, an imported sack of sugar rose from SDG665 ($99) to SDG800 ($119). Prices for milk and tea also increased.

In South Kordofan's El Farshaya, the price of a sack of sugar rose to SDG680 ($101), while in El Gedaref, a pound of sugar now costs SDG17 ($2.50).

Related coverage:

Report: 'Corruption, including embezzlement, cronyism, patronage in Sudan’s gold industry' (November 15, 2017) 

Corruption in gold, oil show 'Sudan's Deep State': Enough (April 25, 2017)

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