Jonglei State, News

Jonglei leaders differ on land row

By William Madouk


Jonglei State governor and his deputy have disagreed over formation of an investigation committee to probe the ex-Bor mayor for unlawful land allotment to firms and individuals in the town.

Mr. Denay Jock Chagor wanted a committee to probe the alleged land disputes, but his deputy, Jacob Akech Dengdit, argued that it’s the prerogative of the court to settle the said cases since the issue is now at the state high court.

In his gubernatorial order on October 19, Governor Denay formed an ad hoc high-level committee to scrutinize illicit land allotment to enterprises and personalities.

“I, Denay Jock Chagor, governor of Jonglei, do hereby issue this gubernatorial order for the formation of a high-level committee to investigate the former mayor and the head of legal administration in Bor town for unlawful land agreements,” partly reads the order seen by this outlet.

The seven-member committee will be headed by James Mawich Makuach and deputized by Abraham Mamer Kur. Denay also appointed a counsel general from the National Ministry of Justice to be secretary.

Ms. Nyallele John Chuol is appointed as a member, along with Molana John Kachuol, Brig-Gen Marier Arok Dhal, and Molana James Alier Anyieth.

According to the governor, the committee should investigate land auctioning, sales agreements, and payments from companies and individuals.

Again, the committee should suspend Women Group Vegetables plots No. 282 and 444; Zain Company plots No. 1 and 2; and public toilet No. 88.

In a rebuttal, Deputy Governor Jacob Akech Dengdit rejected the order, citing that it lacked consultation and cabinet approval.

“Lack of consultation and approval by the council of ministries on the decision to form the above committee in light of the peace agreement and reference to the president’s directive on ‘cooperation and collegial governance of the state’” said Dengdit.

“The above decision is unilateral and against the spirit of the revitalized peace agreement and presidential directives,” he argued.

He added that the formation of the committee is unprocedural in the first place, stressing that land disputes are normally settled in court or through the Council of Ministers’ resolutions and not through an investigative team.

Mr. Dengdit, for instance, said the Women Group Vegetables and Company Land disputes are currently before the judge of the high court; thus, the committee does not have any legal mandate to cancel the ruling of the high court.

“The decision to form the investigation committee is politically motivated; Your Excellency the governor, everyone is very much aware of personal issues between you and the former mayor, Samuel Ateny, that led to his dismissal,” he alleged in a statement.

“Therefore, the formation of a committee to investigate the ex-mayor over charges of land issues that you didn’t quote during his resignation is highly politically motivated with the intention to frame and defame him after he was sworn in as Bor Commissioner,” he added.

Dengdit also pointed an accusing finger at Denay’s administration for lacking strategic priorities to address, for instance, rampant financial scandals that require immediate attention.

However, Jonglei State-based activist Bol Deng Bol said it’s within the prerogative of the governor to constitute a befitting investigative ad hoc committee, even if it’s not approved by the cabinet.

He added that Jonglei Women Vegetables Group was cheated out of their place at Marol Market by wealthy businessmen despite their outcry, while the case remains rotted in court.

“No court injunction was issued to temporarily stop the construction pending the case [ruling], but the construction is ongoing where justice for the women is,” Bol said.

He vowed to follow the case closely until the poor women get their rights and justice takes its course.

“In normal circumstances, it’s the responsibility of the government to promote and protect local small businesses against unfair competitors [foreign business firms] and not do the opposite,” he stressed.

Activist Bol further called on Governor Denay to work in the spirit of collegiality with his deputy to see to it that an investigation is conducted.

“The public is left in the dark, and they deserve to know; rejecting this gubernatorial order for investigation might make you look like a beneficiary in this scandal,” Mr. Bol told Dengdit.

Bor High Court

The high court judge, John Yel Aleu, said applicants have submitted their applications for review under Section 292/1 of the Civil Procedure Act 2007 before the high court. Based on the application, the court rules the following:

“Execution for order No. 18/2023 date: 27-3-2023 on the plots numbers 444 and 282 block Marol one at Bor town to be stayed until the decision of the high court,” said judge Aleu in a statement.

“The parties are to be served with a copy of the decree,” he added.


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