By Moyo Jacob
Advocates in Eastern Equatoria State have expressing mixed reactions over a letter by the Directorate of Land and Town Planning, in the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure, to bar them from the right to offer contract agreements to clients.
On June 29, Juma Babikir Lohure, Director of Land and Town Planning, wrote a letter to the advocates, notifying them that all contract agreements for the sale of plots and change of ownerships, not verified or signed by legal competent advocate and Commissioner for Oath, shall not be accepted by the department at the ministry.
“Anybody who comes to you with such document, not endorsed by a competent Commissioner of Oath recognized by the Hon Chief Justice of South Sudan Judiciary, should not be accepted at your end,” Added Babikir in his letter.
Addressing the Press, Acting Secretary for Eastern Equatoria Advocates Association, Beda Kasimiro Anthony, says the consequences of such order are much greater, stressing that it has betrayed the public as it triggers many reactions from advocates.
“There is no jurisdiction all over the world where an advocate is licensed and things like drafting contracts is denied. After all what is drafting contracts? Even an ordinary person can draft a contract, public there, members there can draft a contract and it is said to be valid,” explained Beda.
He quotes that section 34 of the Contract Act 2008 of South Sudan provides that a contract can be both oral and written.
For his part, Ustaz Simon Fredrick Pasquali, Legal Advisor in Torit, comments that the letter addressed to them rapidly affects their businesses with clients.
Meanwhile, Advocate Juma Joe Adriano, working for Centenary Associated Advocates, says the advocates demand an apology from Babikir.
“We request him to be someone who is neutral, because what he has stated in the order here is something different, that talks of powers of the Commission of Oaths. It is not talking about barring the advocates from drafting the agreement,” added Juma.
According to Juma, after gathering information, advocates will sit together to launch the case to the Public Prosecution to resolve the matter amicably, or else pursue to high court in case of disagreements.