National, News

A deep dive into Chamber of Commerce crisis

By Charles K Mark


A sinister is brewing at the South Sudan National Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture visa-vie, Central Equatoria State and Juba City Chamber of Commerce offices.

In an unscrupulous episode, the first vice chairperson of the National Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, John Lual Akol usurped the powers of his boss.

Mr. Lual in a letter dated October 13, 2023, dislodged the entire office of Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce and ordered its closure, sending the officials into disarray.

“This is to inform your offices about the decision taken by the SSNClA to cease activities of the Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture offices,” the letter reads in part.

Reading between the lines, the suspension seems to have been orchestrated by a clandestine animosity over leadership wrangle within Central Equatoria state.

“The leadership of Mr. Robert Pitia and his group to stop operations until further notice in order to resolve the customs market issues,” the letter continued.

Mr. Lual’s action could be linked to a letter, purportedly from the office of Central Equatoria state Chamber of Commerce, which pinned Robert Pitia and Wani Stephen of the Juba City council office.

The authors of the letter labeled the two officials: chairpersons of Central Equatoria and Juba City Chambers of Commerce, respectively, culpable of embezzlement.

Dated September 29, 2023, from the deputy chairperson’s office, Robert Pitia was issued a letter of no confidence from chairing the state Chamber of Commerce.

The petitioners accused the chairperson of excessive corruption, cruelty, and feelingless, and labeled him a heartless leader.

In a bid to justify their cause, the claimants advanced statistics of funds they believed had been misappropriated.

“1.7% of the licenses to the CESCCIA out of the 15% from the Juba City Council Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture are remitted to him directly by the chairperson, Juba City Chamber; some amount of SSP 50, 000, 000,” the report partly reads.

However, Chairperson of the South Sudan National Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, Mr. Losidik Lukak Legge has nullified the suspension issued by his first deputy.

In a well-articulated letter, Mr. Lukak quoted Article 31 clause (1), section (i) of the SSNCIA ‘s Constitution, as amended, which gives him powers to effect administrative orders.

“Overrule the order dated October 13, 2023, by the first vice chairperson, suspending the operation of the Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (CESCCIA), which he alleged contravenes the above-cited provision,” Lukak writes in his authoritative letter.

He also directed the office of the chairperson and subordinates who were suspended, to resume their normal operations.

JCCCCIA administrators in a group photo after meeting journalists in Juba on Monday.

Additionally, Juba City Chamber of Commerce has also denied authoring the alleged letter of withdrawing trust on their chairperson, Wani Stephen Aquilino.

Acting Chairperson, Sule Alfonse Modi said in a press briefing that the letter of votes of no confidence against their chairperson was forged.

He named one Mr. Victor Sebit, whose service was terminated on 14 July 2023, to be the initiator of the alleged letter.

“I want to send this message clearly to the traders that Mr. Victor Sebit is no longer a member of Juba City Chamber of Commerce,” Sule said

The letter was published in Arabic and some English daily newspapers on 14 October.

The Acting Chairperson stated that the allegations of corruption and embezzlement are baseless.

“It is really wrong. The statement is not correct. We in the chamber of commerce, do not have any income-generating activities that are to run our office,” Sule said.

He said the chamber only depends on the market contributions; a monthly service fee that they use to run the office.

According to Sule, the Juba City Chamber of Commerce gets its support from sub-offices in the markets to run daily activities.

Comments are closed.