Amnesty: British company brokered $46m arms deal with South Sudan
Amnesty International says a shell company operating in the heart of London brokered an arms deal worth $46 million to war-torn South Sudan.
Amnesty investigators say that a company operating as S-Profit Ltd in London’s West End acted as an intermediary in a number of arms deals to the world’s youngest nation and other countries, exploiting what it calls “regulatory gaps which are making the UK a hotspot for companies involved in illicit arms transfers”.
At least $46m worth of small arms sold to South Sudan
According to the Amnesty report, the deal brokered by S-Profit Ltd in 2014 sold at least $46 million worth of small arms to South Sudan.
“Commercial documents name S-Profit Ltd, a tiny UK-registered company, as the ‘supplier’ in a 2014 deal to provide at least US$46m worth of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to the South Sudanese government,” Amnesty said of the report.
The report, entitled From London to Juba: a UK-registered company’s role in one of the largest arms deals to South Sudan, also suggests the UK government has been aware of such practices taking place on British soil for more than eight years, without taking any significant regulatory action to prevent it.
South Sudan ‘awash with weapons’
One of the major issues in South Sudan’s ongoing conflict is the country’s sources of weapons. Until now, the UN has failed to impose an arms embargo against the country and the UK has been one of the loudest voices backing the idea of sanctions against South Sudan.
James Lynch, who is Amnesty International’s Head of Arms Control and Human Rights, says the organisation’s latest findings highlight the contradictions of Britain’s discourse and its actions.
“South Sudan is awash with weapons that have been used to kill and maim thousands of civilians, causing Africa’s biggest refugee crisis. The UK government has been a vocal proponent of a UN arms embargo on South Sudan, yet is turning a blind eye to illegal deals taking place right under its nose,” he said.
“Glaring gaps in UK company regulation mean a dealer of illicit arms can go online and set up a UK company to front its activities with fewer checks than joining a gym or hiring a car. The UK must urgently review its company registration procedures – right now it provides the perfect conditions to become a hotspot for the kind of irresponsible arms transfers that have devastated South Sudan,” he added.
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