Reign of Corruption and political stagnation By Andrew Bak
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Nov 10, 2006 - 9:22:00 PM
A Truth and Transparency Dossier
Issue No 2, Nov. 2006
By Andrew Bak
Reign of Corruption and political stagnation
The first 12 months of Salva Kiir’s presidency in Southern Sudan should go down in history as “the reign of corruption and political stagnation”.
On the political front, the SPLM is failing to focus on main issues pertaining to the implementation of the CPA, thanks to wily machinations of the hired-guns around President Salva.
For those who saw a glimmer of hope in the formation of the SPLM Politburo, these hopes are now dwindling as the hired-guns are becoming more entrenched with the help of the NCP.
The result of their insidious work is all there on the wall for everyone to see: they have killed all the important aspects of the CPA, namely the Petroleum Commission, the Lands Commission, the North-South Borders Commission and the Abyei Administration. This is in addition to other commissions which have hitherto remained on paper. There is also no follow up of the other pertinent issues of peace as the joint political committee between the SPLM and the NCP is rendered fatally dysfunctional. Whenever a meeting of a commission is called, the hired-guns would simply abstain at the behest of their masters in the National Congress Party (NCP). Other commissions are simply denied funds. As clearly revealed in our first issue, the NCP strategy is to paralyze these commissions until they cease to exist physically or in the collective memory of the Sudanese people. By the time, the SPLM wakes up in three or four years time, there will be new military realities on the ground.
According to our top military intelligence sources, Khartoum is hell-bent on destroying the CPA on key aspects. The ultimate aim of the NCP is to quash the 2011 referendum through feet-dragging just as the Moroccans did with the UN-backed referendum for the independence of the Western Sahara. But if the going gets rough, they might let the South go but without Oil Areas and Abyei. This is how one top intelligence source put it:
“If you read through the NCP strategy, they are very selective on the implementation of the CPA. While they are prepared to redeploy their forces from the South, they are not ready to redeploy troops from Oil-producing areas. By withdrawing troops from the South, they want to show the world that they are implementing the Security Arrangement Protocol. This is just a tactical move to make the South happy for the time being. But strategically, if you look beyond, you will realize that they are not redeploying from oil-rich areas. And they will never set up the Abyei Administration Council because of oil issue. Even troops that are now being withdrawn from the South are being relocated to Southern Blue Nile and Northern Abyei for strategic reasons. These troops, estimated at around 49,000, might be needed to overtake and occupy oil fields in Adar Yell and Northern Abyei if the agreement collapses. The existence of NCP-sponsored Shahama militia in Abyei, which is lynching the Ngok people on daily basis in the area, is another attempt to create chaos and takeover Abyei”.
Another intelligence source concurs with this view, saying:
“In recent months, Khartoum intensified its military ties with Bejing and Moscow. Over 50 pilots are now training in China to man helicopter gunships which Khartoum is planning to buy. It may be recalled that these helicopters were instrumental in depopulating the oil fields during the war with the SPLA. Additionally, Khartoum's Minister of Defence, Abdul Raheem Mohammed Hussien was recently in Moscow to conclude a $ 1 billion deal for the Sudanese military. My guess is that these moves are strategic preparations for the upcoming battles of borders and Oil fields. The next war will essentially be a war of resources- particularly Oil."
While these scenarios are unfolding before our own eyes, the SPLM is engrossed in deep sleep, waiting for Godot: No clear poltical strategies; no follow up of the contentious issues of the CPA; no regular meetings of the politburo; no political engagement with other political parties at the national level; no preparations for the upcoming elections in 18 months time; no active diplomacy to engage allies and friends in the region and the rest of the world; and above all- no Plan B to counteract the NCP if it chooses to nullify the CPA as Ibrahim Ahmed Omar said recently. In short, the political situation is pathetic and nightmarish.
Although there are a few success stories in the African Continent, non-Africans have often cited "bad governance and corruption" as main sources of much of Africa's woes. This charge is true to a larger degree, although it unfairly negates the shining aspects of the African continent.
As this charge continues to dog Africa, it was reasonably assumed that new political parties coming to power in emerging democracies such as the SPLM should draw lessons from bad experiences of Africa. There is no reason whatsoever why a party like the SPLM should start governance by taking off from the same plinth which has seen most of Africa failing and falling, namely bad governance and corruption.
Indeed, bad governance and corruption are unfortunately the mantra on everybody's lips in Juba now. The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) is visible to the people not in the form of services such as clean drinking water, schools and hospitals but only in form of land cruiser vehicles and airplanes flying thieves in and out of Juba, while children run on the streets, begging and exhorting foreigners to clean their cars or shine their shoes for money.
What is insulting is that while these gut-wrenching scenes continue on the streets of Juba, corrupt officials are stashing away millions of dollars in fake contracts ostensibly meant to improve services to the impoverished people of Southern Sudan. In view of the stories of corruption unfolding in Juba, the fiends of corruption in Southern Sudan must be the wonder of our time. They are unrivalled in their guts and feats.
However, it should be borne in mind that when we criticize them, we do know that there is no single society or country in the world that is free of corruption. Take for example, the ruling NCP in Khartoum. They are equally immersed in corruption, although in a more astute and professional manner. A classic case of the NCP corruption was unveiled recently, involving the third most high-ranking official, Professor Ibrahim Ahmed Omar.
Omar, who is trusted and considered as the least corrupt among party leaders , was given some US$ 150 million as party money that would be used for building the party and winning elections. Omar deposited the money to his wife’s account to blur any traces linking him to this huge sum of money. But when the party demanded its money back so as to begin its work, the wife of the professor refused to give up custody of the money, saying point blank: “This was my kids’ money!” . The professor, who is truly said to be a religious man with no much greed for wealth, went nearly mad as he tried to persuade his wife to return the party money. Relatives mediated but to no avail. The professor threatened to divorce her but again to no avail. In the end, the party sympathized with the aggrieved colleague and decided not to pursue the matter any further. But Professor Omar was so badly affected by the episode that he kept away from the limelight for a long time. He made a political comeback only recently with his threats for the SPLM to abrogate the Naivasha agreement if the SPLM continued to support the deployment of UN troops in Darfur.
Another classic case of corruption is to be seen in the recent slaughter of journalist Mohammed Taha Mohammed Ahmed. According to party insiders, Taha had obtained sensitive documents on corruption and money laundering activities involving big party leaders, including some constitutional post holders. He used to blackmail them with these documents, and out of fear, they offered him 10 billion Sudanese pounds to silence him. But he would not stop his blackmail, leaving them with no choice but to cut his throat and silence him for ever!. Now the NCP party will try to invent a different cover up story where a killer-scapegoat would be created to protect the real party culprits.
These two episodes prove that corruption is rampant in the NCP government.
But in the case of the South, what is happening there is not corruption per se. It is rather a looting spree. The Corruption Syndicate of Arthur Akwien and Justin Yac is sapping massive resources - which should otherwise be spent on cleaner water, schools and hospitals- on an atrocious scale.
Examples are not in short supply:
One, when the 2005 budget of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) was passed, the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs of Justin Yac was allocated more than 2 million dollars. Justin, who is corrupt to the marrow of his bones, loathed this allocation and wildly went about to get his budget increased from US$ 2 to 7 million. President Salva, regrettably, approved it. As a result, Justin got extra five million which he simply pocketed. In Juba, he is above the law which is why nobody bothered to question him over the missing US$ 20 million supposedly used for resettlement of refugees.
Two, the Arthur-Justin syndicate is mushrooming day after day with more fiends joining the looting-spree. The duo has recruited budget in short supply.extensive business frontier agents that include, among others, Garang Deng Aguer, a relative of Arthur, Martin Malwal Arop, Ayii Duwang and Osman Ibrahim Taweel. According to some documents obtained by the Sudan Today, the amount of money stashed away by this cartel in loans and contracts is both staggering and chilling. Garang Deng Aguer was given a guarantee letter by Arthur Akwien to the tune of 300 million dollars (we repeat 300 million dollars!). Sadly for the people of Southern Sudan, this amount was immediately cut from the 2006 budget of the Government of Southern Sudan by the Central Bank and will never be recovered if Garang chooses to flee Sudan at any time of his choice. As if that was not enough, Arthur further granted him a contract worth 100 million dollars. It was Arthur also who protected this man when he commandeered 100 million Sudanese pounds as Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal. So, Garang Deng Aguer, who was desperately poor and had to spend months in jail in Khartoum for counterfeiting money, is now miraculously turned into a very rich man, owning a fleet of three airplanes, 50 trucks and oil tankers, and other properties in Khartoum, Kampala and Nairobi. Won’t you now believe us when we say that these corruption fiends are a wonder of our time!
Three, the Arthur-Justin syndicate granted 100 million dollar loan to Martin Malwal Arop, a group member who is posturing as a contractor. The latest contract awarded to him was the supply of 200 vehicles to GOSS. Ayii Duwang, the other market frontier of Arthur, was the first to be awarded contracts by Arthur to supply furniture to GoSS offices. Bills were repeatedly inflated and Ayii eventually jumped from wretches to riches, ending up as a mini millionaire and owning a hotel in Juba. Arthur enabled him to fleece 2 million dollar in contracts.
Fourth, this looting spree has opened the way for serious crimes which, if left unchecked, will permanently damage the international reputation of Southern Sudan. The business integrity of the people of Southern is already being damaged by the Justin-Arthur syndicate. When a group of young men were arrested in recent months in Khartoum for forging the signature of President Salva and affixing it on bogus contracts, we thought it was an isolated incident. But unfortunately these types of crimes are increasingly growing as a result of lack of accountability and failure by the GOSS leader to put an end to the current looting spree. An example of these crimes can be seen in one of the documents obtained by the Sudan Today. According to that document, Osman Ibrahim El Taweel poses as the “Minister of Development” in the Government of Southern Sudan (of course there is no such portfolio in Goss) and signs a contract with a UAE-based international company. This impersonator, who carries his own stamp and GOSS letterhead in his brief case, was able to seal the contract with a stamp from the office of the “Presidential Advisor”. He signed the contract, knowing full well that Arthur will settle the bill. Despite having been given small contracts in the past, El Taweel, who is an established enemy of Southern Sudan, is still not satisfied.
The scope of looting and lawlessness in Juba has even encouraged far-flung offices such as the office of Dr. Lam Akol in Khartoum to join the business of lobbying for Goss contracts. In an another document, the office Manager of the Foreign Affairs Minister writes to a company to discuss issues pertaining to health projects in the South. Defending his complicity with the NCP, Lam arrogantly says and we quote: “I’m Foreign Minister for the whole Sudan and not for the SPLM and I must therefore do whatever President Bashir wants me to do”.
This was his reason why he defied Salva recently and traveled to Washington to deliver the letter of President Bashir to the US President, despite the orders of Salva SPLA/M boss, his not to travel to America. Now, the Foreign Minister owes us an explanation as to what has his office got to with health projects in the South.
Sudan Today has decided to published only two documents which are less serious but will retain the rest for some appropriate time.
The present political and economic situation in Southern Sudan is too grave to be ignored. There is no society in the whole world where a gang of only 6 people (Justin, Arthur, Martin, Ayii, Garang and Osman) can steal over 500 million dollars in broad daylight and still escape punishment. What is even more depressing is that the Southern Sudan’s parliament is showing signs of weakness and uselessness. It has ceased to be a true monitor of the Executive Branch. Nevertheless, in the absence of an independent judiciary and free media, Sudan Today sees no option but to appeal to the people of good conscience in the parliament of Southern Sudan to immediately:
1-Request an urgent meeting with President Salva to press him forcefully to relieve Justin Yac and Arthur Akwien in Juba and Lam Akol, Telar Deng and Aleu Ayany in Khartoum.
Given the fragility of the political situation in the South at the moment, President Kiir should be assured of the support of the Southern Sudanese people, but only if he comes up with a good team consisting of people of unquestionable integrity. Even if such a team were to be from his own clan, we are sure the people of Southern Sudan would not mind as long as their money would not be stolen, and as along as those people would not cross to the enemy camp as Telar , Aleu and Lam did. We also appeal to the SPLM leadership, the communities of Southern Sudan, the Diaspora of Southern Sudan and SPLA officers to join the Sudan Today initiative and prevail upon the President to change course immediately. In a meeting with the Sudanese community in London recently, President Salva was asked about corruption in his government and his answer was: “there is no corruption”. That was unfortunate and shocking. President Salva must be made to understand that Southern Sudan will never progress an inch if he sits back watching his corrupt officials as if he were a chief in a club of thugs.
2-An investigation must immediately be launched and corrupt officials must be prosecuted and jailed. A parliamentary delegation should fly to Khartoum to legally obtain original financial documents of money transfers and contracts from the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance with the aim of recovering missing funds from the GOSS coffers. The parliament should also contact governments of the neighboring countries as well as governments of the United States, Australia, Canada and Britain for the speedy recovery of the stolen assets in accordance with the United Nations Stolen Assets Recovery Convention.
3-All contracts signed must be reviewed or revoked.
4- Ministers who are sitting idly in the cabinets in Khartoum and Juba must be replaced. This same should apply to members of the commissions who have been doing nothing over the past 18 months.
5-Finally, an independent authority for government procurements must be set up to curb the current corruption.
These are some of the few things that need to be done immediately; otherwise the President will wake up one fine morning to find the masses on the streets raising one and only one demand: Salva must go.
Those who murdered John Garang have murdered their own sleep!
In its maiden issue in June, Sudan Today uncovered significant aspects of the modus operandi of the Money and Power Cartel that assassinated John Garang, and who now continues to destroy the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). As our readers may recall, we cited many names in the First Issue. One of them was Ambassador Sirajuddin Hamid, former Sudanese Ambassador to Uganda and Rapporteur of the Commission of Enquiry into the death of Dr. John Garang. Ambassador Hamid wrote to us to clear his name from what he calls “serious allegations” and “nonsense”, saying that he “did a lot of good things to the Sudan in general and Southern Sudan in particular” during his 4-year tenure as ambassador to Uganda!.
In this issue, Sudan Today fully publishes the response of Ambassador Hamid for two reasons: First, to be fair to him and second, to serve our purpose as a dossier for truth and transparency.
I do not know you, and I bet from your article titled “There will be
no Self Determination in 2011 in Southern Sudan" that you also do not
know me. I assume that you have written your article in good faith and for the sake of sheer truth. Therefore I wish to clarify some basic
facts about myself before saying anything else:
1. My name is Sirajuddin Hamid. I am an Attorney at law and member of the Sudanese Bar Association for the last twenty years. I am also a
diplomat and currently an Ambassador at the HQ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sudan as joined the Foreign Service of Sudan in 1990. I served in more than four postings in various parts of the Globe. The last post I occupied outside Sudan was Ambassador of Sudan to Uganda. I ended my tour of duty there on 30 June 2005. I believe that I did a lot of good things to the Sudan and in particular Southern Sudanese during the four years I spent in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. I proudly claim that I engineered the historic meeting between Chairman Dr. Garang and President Bashir in Kampala in July 2003. That meeting paved the way for the successful rounds of talks in Naivasha and other locations in Kenya.
2. I have never known, seen dealt with or heard of the so called
General Mohammed Ibrahim Aradeib. Therefore, the rest of the story that links me to this person, if he ever existed, is false and baseless.
3. I have never been member of the security personnel of the National
Islamic Front and I do not know what that is.
4. I served in New York during the period from Sept. 1990 until July
4th 1995. I defended the cause of my country when put in the list of
states sponsoring terrorism and my name appeared on various televisions and News papers. However, I have never seen in realty the so called Omer Abdurrahman. I only heard of him and saw him in the US television. I never fled New York as you have alleged. I ended my duties as a diplomat in the Sudan Mission in New York normally and I left New York quietly on 4 July 1995. I have never been asked or questioned by any law enforcing agency in the United States whether it being the FBI or others. During my stay in the United States I enjoyed a happy stay and made a lot of American friends whom I respect and value their friendship. I do not know from where you got all this nonsense. It is definitely unfair on your part to tarnish the image of a person that you do not know with such serious allegations.
5. I have never been to southern Sudan in my life until April 2006
when I visited Juba as part of the Commission investigating the Helicopter crash of late Dr. Garang. Again I visited Juba in May 2006 on an unsuccessful business trip. I have many friends and former school mates among the elite of SPLM.
6. It gives me a great honour to know a person such as Commander Salva Kiir. But the truth is that the first time I shook hands with him was in Kampala in the year 2005 in a conference on the Great Lakes Region at Nile Hotel International. The second time I shook hands with Commander Salva was at Entebbe Airport during the time I was Rapportuer of the Garang Investigation Commission.
The foregoing are the facts that your article has missed. I think you
owe me an apology, and if you want to know more about my character then I invite you to meet with me if you are in Khartoum. If not let us
exchange contact details and the opportunity will arise in the future. I do not have personal enemies and I see no reason why we should act as enemies when there is a chance to be friends. I hope I have clarified important aspects of your article, and it is your turn now.
Sudan Today Editors’ comments:
Dear Ambassador Siraj,
First and foremost, we must admit that we admire your audacity to try and come clean, despite all the evidence against you. We stand by our story on the basis of the following:
1- Since you began your letter by telling us a little bit about your character, we thought it will be appropriate to begin at that point. And we respond by saying that you may indeed be a good person. This is typical of many Sudanese. As social beings, we tend to be very good, but as political animals, we tend to be bestial - literally. There are many examples to illustrate this point. Mohammed Ahmed Mahjoub, our late Prime Minister, was a wonderful human being. Yet, as a politician, Mahjoub was horrendously bestial. His good qualities as a human being did not inhibit him from ordering the assassination of William Deng Nhial, whose murder was contrived and later mystified in the same way as Garang’s murder. You know very well that it was under Mahjoub’s government that many educated Southern Sudanese were systematically murdered in cold blood. Another example is to be seen in your own Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir, who is said to be a “good man”. But just look at the amount of blood we have shed during his ruthless rule. For the two Nuer boys whom Bashir adopted as his kids, they can believe you if you tell them that Bashir is a wonderful man. But you can have your head chopped into pieces if you say the same thing about Bashir in Shaigiya land, where he had murdered 28 best known Shaigiya sons in the Sudanese army. So, being a good person in Sudan does not necessarily prevent one from engaging in vicious political activities against opponents. In your case, we have no qualms that you may be a good man. But let us accept, for the sake of argument, that the horrible things that you did were prompted by your commitment to the ideology of your party- the National Islamic Front, now known as the National Congress Party.
2- You say you have no connection with the National Islamic Front (NIF) or with its security apparatus. This is untrue. You are a very senior member of the NIF and a very important cadre in its security apparatus. You were among the NIF cadres who were implanted in the Foreign Ministry in 1990. By your own admission, you joined the Foreign Service in 1990 and in barely 15 years you served in five posts around the globe!. This is self- explanatory. It means that you were among the most favored in the Foreign Ministry who were moved from one post to the other at a lightening speed. For example, you joined in 1990 (on the list of NIF political appointees) and in September of the same year, you were posted in New York!. No career diplomat in the history of the Foreign Ministry has ever enjoyed such privileges. You were clearly sent to NY for a mission.
3- Your connection with terror networks in NYC is not an “allegation” or a “nonsense” concocted by us. On the contrary, your record speaks for itself. Perhaps we should remind you of the BBC’s documentary compiled by Deborah Davies called the “Khartoum Connection” which was featured in Channel 4 at that time. In that documentary, telephone calls, conversations and video footages of a Sudanese diplomat at the UN mission called Sirajadin were recorded by the FBI agent - the Egyptian born Imad Salim. The commentator at the footage was clearly calling you by the first name: Siraj.. Siraj. There is also a CCTV picture of you clearly pointed on the screen. More importantly, when the would-be bomber was arrested later, he confessed that he was to smuggle the bombs to the WTC garage using a Sudanese diplomatic mission’s car. The facilitator of this operation, according to the defendant, was a senior diplomat by the name of Siraj. This was recorded and up to this day we still have the video footage. Now tell us, were there two Sirajs at the Sudanese mission at the UN when you were there? And isn’t the picture on the CCTV your own picture?. At any rate, the evidence against you is compelling. The only error that we made in our previous article is that we used the verb “fled” instead of “deported” from New York. After checking our documents, we found that you were deported as a persona non-grata on the basis of the evidence collected against you. You did not end your tour of duty peacefully as you claim, thanks to America’s ignorance at that time about the threats posed by terrorists and spies disguised as diplomats.
4- Your contention that you did a lot of good things to Southern Sudan is laughable. While it is true that you did engineer Garang-Bashir meeting in July 2003, you did engineer an awful lot of other terrible things as well. And if you are amnesic like the rest of Sudanese, then we should remind you of only a few examples of all the big things that you did during your tenure in Kampala, lest you continue to assume that the truth shall not be known. First, we begin by reminding you that Sudanese diplomatic missions in neighboring countries are, by and large, security missions. When the NIF came to power, it gave top priority to Sudanese missions in Kampala, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Islamabad, New York, Washington, London, Kuala Lumpur and a few other capitals. Only top spies were posted there. That was why the regime had spies like Osman Al Sayed as ambassador in Addis Ababa for 10 years and Fateh Erwa in New York for 7 years. To prove his espionage skills, El Sayed was able to smuggle the Egyptian militants who attempted to kill President Mubarak in 1995 from Addis Ababa to Khartoum on the same plane carrying President Bashir. Now coming back to the point, you were chosen as ambassador to Uganda for a mission. Again, in case you are amnesic, let us remind you of the role your embassy played during the Salva-Garang crisis in November/December 2004. At that turbulent time, four SPLM/A officials landed in your office in the embassy and demanded money and weapons to topple John Garang. Surprisingly, you were lukewarm about the idea at the beginning (perhaps you were only being security minded) but later on, you referred the matter to Khartoum. Within a few days, Khartoum responded by sending millions of dollars which were used to divide the SPLA. This is where General Mohammed Ibrahim Aradeib whom you now deny, was instrumental in distributing that money. Ambassador Siraj, there is no way you can dismiss this historic fact as nonsense or baseless. We do have the documents and more importantly, the people who met you at the embassy in Kampala are still alive. Not only are they alive, but some of them are even holding big constitutional positions.
5- Finally, Sirajuddin Hamid, we were intrigued by your response in Al Ray Aaam News paper when you threatened to take to court those who doubted the findings of the Commission of enquiry into the murder of John Garang. The questions that come into mind as we dissect your apparently nervous threat are: Why are you in hurry to close the chapter? Why are you ruling out the possibility of a plot? Have you, of all the NIF schemers, forgotten that there were many competing plans to assassinate John Garang?
Again, in case you are amnesiac, let us remind you about your own assassination plan. Have you forgotten what you said in a social gathering in Khartoum in 2002 (name of the host withheld), when you boasted and we quote: “I have a very good plan to assassinate John Garang. It just needs funding”?.
And your host retorted by saying:” Go ahead. You will be funded”.
This is not to accuse you, but we are just showing you that the truth is already known. When the doomsday comes, people like you will have a lot of tough questions to answer. For example, we will come up with at least two witnesses to testify as you will be asked to explain what happened to your “very good plan to assassinate John Garang”? You will also be asked about the role of the Southern Sudanese army officer who was your military attaché at the embassy in Kampala? There are a lot more questions that will be answered?
We now conclude with some general comments about the assassination of John Garang. And we begin by assuring you that John Garang was a savior of the Sudanese people whose struggle had set the Sudan on the right path. By the time he was murdered, he had achieved 50 per cent of his objectives. So what is important now is not revenge but truth. The Sudanese people should know the truth about his death, although a good segment of the Sudanese society have already known this truth. Consider, for example, this intelligent statement by Brigadier (Rtd) Hassan Bayoumi in Al Sahafa Arabic daily on 24/7/2006, issue No.4716:
The forces who perpetuated the assassination of John Garang are so meticulous and so influential that they can never be easily uncovered.. they were in Naivasha…where they had a strong presence … they waited for Garang to finish his job , which was crowned with the signing of the agreement and the interim constitution. After he did his job, they eliminated him.
You see, brother Siraj, people are intelligent.
The Money and Power Cartel that murdered John Garang are now enjoying their power and money, sometimes showing off their wealth in the most lavish way. But believe it or not, they do not live in peace. We do know from our close follow up that they have had long and sleepless nights. They have murdered their own sleep!.
As for your kind invitation for us to meet you in Khartoum, we apologize that such a meeting will not be possible now. But in the future we can still meet at New Site.
Sudan Today is a truth and transparency dossier, compiled by watchdogs in Khartoum and Juba. Comments can be sent to [email protected]. Two documents are attached with this issue
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