One post on the page claims the finance ministry in South Sudan has partnered with the World Bank and other international organisations to give out grants worth US$41.4 million to entrepreneurs.
It reads: “The Ministry has partnered with the World Bank and GEF to roll out an economic development program in the country by issuing Financial Grants worth US$ 41.4 Million to all deserving entrepreneurs and farmers in the country with an aim of promoting local investment and entrepreneurship.”
It goes on to say applicants must be South Sudaneese citizens aged between 23 and 57. It then links to a Google Form where applications for the grants are allegedly to be made.
Africa Check has recently debunked similar scams on Facebook, which claimed the finance ministries of Botswana, Uganda and Zambia were giving away money through an online application process. But could this from South Sudan be genuine?
‘Fake information’, says South Sudan finance ministry
The Facebook page advertising the grants in South Sudan was created on 30 June 2020 and this post was published the same day.
A contact in South Sudan shared a newspaper notice with us in which the finance ministry disowned the posts, saying they were fake.
We reached out to Nelson Kwaje, the team leader of South Sudan’s fact-checking site 211 Check, to ask if the country’s finance ministry had issued any such statement.
He confirmed the notice had been published by the Dawn newspaper, and sent us two images showing the full page of the newspaper, published on 17 July.
The notice is signed by Simon Deng Kuol, the ministry’s public relations and protocol officer. It is dated 13 July and reads: “The Ministry of Finance and Planning is hereby informing the public to disregard such fake information which was circulated by scammers on social media.” – Dancan Bwire
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
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Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.