Ayii sets condition to pay crash victims

By William Madouk

Embattled South Sudanese businessman, Ayii Duang Ayii, who came out of prison on Tuesday, accepts to pay compensation for the victims of the Pieri plane crash, but with conditions.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Mr. Ayii, who spent 21 days in the Juba Central Prison, said he walked to prison as a law-abiding citizen, but the Malakia High Court was hasty in their decision to throw him in.

“I am now out; I did not come out of prison through the window, but I came out of prison by an official order from the appeals court, and we will continue to appeal until justice prevails,” said Ayii.

He set the first condition that the black box should be brought to determine the cause of the incident.

“We want to know what happened and what led to the loss of our clients and crew, and that is by gathering evidence through Black Box. Let Black Box tell us exactly what transpired on the plane,” he said.

He said that South Supreme Airline and its administration did not refuse to pay compensation, but we say we need to find out the cause of the incident of the plane crash itself because when the plane took off from Juba, it didn’t have any technical issues.

Mr. Ayii also disagreed with the ruling, citing that the court has gone against international aviation and domestic law norms for paying compensation. To him, pilot reparations globally are about $53,000 to $33,000.

“When the plane crashed, it was ruled out based on the international and not the host country’s laws, but I felt sorry that the Malakia High Court stood by a one-sided decision ordering paying $170,000 for each person,” he noted.

Ayii added that he was supposed to pay the victims of the ill-fated plane crash, an equivalent of fifty-one (51) cows in the Upper Nile or thirty-one (31) cows in the Bahr El Ghazal region, as local law stipulated.

Ayii cited that they are still bemoaning the victims of the plane crash, but the root cause of the incident must be established for them to pay, adding that with evidence of what happened, the insurance company can now intervene.

“After we find out what happened, the compensation must be based on international aviation law or domestic laws,” he stressed.

The ‘Black Box’, technically known as the Flight Data Recorder, is an instrument that records all the activities of an airplane or aircraft during its flight.

An airplane generally houses two black boxes, one at the front and another at the back.

Last Friday, the first court hearing of caged businessman Ayii at Malakia High Court was pushed to Friday this week after confusion arose between the Juba Central Prison and the court over his transportation.

Ayii was expected to appear before the court to hear his response to the ruling that ordered him to pay $1,360,000 to the families of Pieri plane crash victims.

The boss of South Supreme Airline was arrested early this month after he failed to pay the victims the compensation money as ordered by the court.

The defense lawyer of the victims’ families, Monyluak Alor, said the case was postponed for a second time because of the confusion over the ferrying of Ayii to the court premises.

However, lawyer Alor said the new date has been set for Ayii to appear before the court, and official communication would be relayed to the prison early this week.

“[The judge] looked at his diary, and he set the date of September 22nd, Friday. So, a letter will be sent to prison so that they can prepare Ayii for the court on Friday,” he stressed.

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