Setback for South Sudan in Sh5.4bn Jirongo firm row


Former Lugari Mp Cyrus Jirongo. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The South Sudan government has suffered a fresh setback after the Court of Appeal in Kenya ordered that its bank accounts at NCBA #ticker:NCBA and Stanbic #ticker:SBIC be frozen in the wake of a legal tiff with a firm linked to former Cabinet minister Cyrus Jirongo, which is demanding Sh5.4 billion from Juba.

A three-judge bench Thursday restored the orders freezing the accounts after YU Sung Construction Company successfully appealed an earlier directive by the High Court that the South Sudan government be allowed to operate the two accounts on condition that it reserved the contentious Sh5.4 billion.

The company through its lawyer, Ken Kiplagat argued that the lower court issued conflicting orders in the dispute, putting the final outcome of the case at risk of nullity.

“The honourable Judges of the High Court have issued conflicting orders which conduct by Judges of concurrent jurisdiction points to a collapse of due process and administrative order in the Judiciary to the grave detriment of the Applicant herein who stands to suffer a miscarriage of justice,” he said in a submission to the Court of Appeal judges.

Dr Kiplagat further claimed that the Attorney-General of South Sudan had not provided any security for the satisfaction of the consent issued against it at the East African Court of Justice, in favour of Yu Sung.

After hearing the case, justices Daniel Musinga, Patrick Kiage and Gatembu Kairu directed status quo to be maintained, meaning that South Sudan cannot withdraw the money from the accounts, pending the determination of the case.

The order freezing the accounts was granted in December and extended from time to time by different judges until last month when Justice Said Chitembwe unfroze the accounts, following a plea by South Sudan, alleging that the freeze was hurting some government operations.

While lifting the order on February 26, Justice Chitembwe heard that the government could not meet some of its obligations including paying salaries.