RAK Media Group, a South Sudanese business entity has described a report by the US Based Watchdog, the Sentry, which accused it for money laundering in the country as a “malicious falsehood” aimed at damaging its reputation.
The Sentry issued the report, “How Oil-Backed Loans Raise Red Flags for Illegal Activity in South Sudan,” on Tuesday, and in it accused Trinity Energy, a South Sudanese firm also for partnering with RAK media for money transfers and currency exchanges which were “consistent with risk indicators for trade-based money laundering.”
The Head of RAK Media Group, Davis Gitari, in a press conference in Juba yesterday rejected the allegations saying they “are unfounded and are based on malicious falsehood with a clear intention of damaging the reputation of the company.”
“The business transactions between Trinity Energy and Rak Media Group involving the exchanges of currency were transparent and within the operations procedures of the commercial banks,” Gitari said.
“The need to exchange currency with Trinity Energy was occasioned by the then restriction by the Central Bank that limited the total hard currency accessible to the organizations between $200 to $500 per day, which could not support business operators, especially regional and international purchases that are only done in dollars,” he said.
“For sentry to have equated such transactions to money laundering is a depiction of blatant malice.”
According to The Sentry, payments made to RAK media for services, in several instances, were over assumed and “not consistent with the value of services delivered by RAK Media.”
It said a summary document listing invoices totaling more than $320,000 from RAK Media to Trinity Energy between January 1, 2016, and March 17, 2017 “are themselves red flags for trade misinvoicing and trade-based money laundering.”
The Sentry cited over charges in services including printing of IDs and business cards as well as letterheads, noting that they were “inconsistent with market values” and quoted a former employ saying “the period of work for which RAK Media charged Trinity Energy more than $320,000 was one of negligible business activity for Trinity.”
In response, Gitari said “he invoices totaling $320,000 from RAK Media Group to Trinity Energy as cited in the report released by Sentry were purely for business rendered by RAK Media Group to Trinity Energy at a time when the latter was facing serious economic hardship.”
“Such payments were purely for goods delivered on credit over a period of 3 years,” he added saying that it “cannot be termed as trade-based money laundering as stated in the report by Sentry,” he said.
“Therefore we condemn Sentry Report’s allegations in the strongest terms possible,” Gitari said.
“As a reputable brand, RAK Media Group wishes to assure the public that we remain transparent in our business dealings” and continue to support the country and the youths on courses meant to establish a better South Sudan.