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South Sudan gets partial access of accounts as row with Jirongo intensifies

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A Kenyan court has allowed South Sudan authorities to partially access their bank accounts at NCBA and Stanbic bank amidst a legal battle with a firm belonging to ex- Cabinet minister Cyrus Jirongo who is demanding more than Sh5 billion form Salva Kiir’s administration.

The move comes after South Sudan challenged a decision to freeze the accounts which they protested as a declaration of war by Kenya since it would hinder delivery of services unable to it’s population.

The court has now allowed them to operate the accounts on condition that they leave a balance not less than Sh5.4 billion as Yusung Construction continues to appeal the order that lifted the a complete freeze on the accounts.

Jirongo’s firm won the deal to construct John Garang Military Academy and Natinga Warehouses in 2008 but later fell out with the government of Salva Kiir following a contract breach pushing the ex-minister to rush to court.

Ex-minister Cyrus Jirongo during a past court session [p/courtesy]

The freezing order was granted last December but has been extended by different judges until Justice Said Chitembwe lifted the order in favour of South Sudan authorities on February 26 since the government could not meet some its obligations.

Judge Chitembwe allowed South Sudan to operate the bank accounts held at NCBA and Stanbic Bank freely pushing Jirongo’s firm to challenge the move where Justice Joseph Sergon granted Juba partial access to the accounts.

The court was told that South Sudan paid Yusung Construction Sh2.6 billion to begin the works but nothing was done after the foundation was laid down till two years ago when Jirongo’s firm moved to the East African Court demanding Sh5.4 billion as sums due with interest.

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Yusung Construction had complained that they were forced to move construction to different sites four times due to violence in the war-torn country with some areas also proving prone to flooding.

The case was the forgotten till November last year when the firm reached an out of court deal after one Biong Pieng Kuol Arop, an official of South Sudan’s Finance and Planning ministry committed to have Jirongo paid the claimed Sh5.4 billion.

The deal gave Yusung Construction permission to attach South Sudan’s assets to recover the sums in case of a default but it is that deal that has now seen South Sudan’s accounts in  Kenyan banks frozen with Juba now claiming that Mr Arop did not have the authority to negotiate deals on its behalf.

Juba administration is also accusing Jirongo of using fraudulent means to obtain the out-of-court settlement which it later used it to dupe Milimani High Court into freezing their two accounts.

 


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