The government forked out at least $300,000 for First Vice-President Taban Deng Gai’s trip to the UN General Assembly with a delegation of 22 people, according to a top embassy official in the United States.

In his visit to New York in mid-September, Gai was accompanied by a number of ministers, senior officials, reporters and security officials.

There’s now an estimate from the South Sudanese Embassy in the United States on how much the trip cost $300,000 which is equivalent to 510 million South Sudanese Pounds.

Ambassador Gordon Buay, a top official at the South Sudanese embassy in Washington, told press yesterday that the money was spent on travel, per diem and accommodation.

“We spent $300,000 only. This is not big money by the way because some countries spent millions of dollars but we don’t have money that’s why we spent less. The other countries that have money spend a lot of money in hotels,” Buay said.

The South Sudanese diplomat said the government delegation to the UN meetings spent several days in New York attending meetings and that’s where the expenses were incurred.

South Sudan’s presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny disputed reports that the size of the government delegation to New York was large.

Ateny also denied claims that the cabinet meetings in the capital every Friday have been cancelled because many ministers had travelled to America together with the country’s First Vice-President Taban Deng Gai.