National, News

NOT QUILTY: Minister defends self on school land sale

By William Madouk


Central Equatoria State minister of Education shakes off accusations on a controversial sale of public-school land.

Mr. Cirisio Zakaria Lado in defence said that he has not sold out an inch of Supiri land but part of it was leased.

Cirisio, who was pinned by National Minister of General Education and Instructions of alleged sale and privatisation of public schools in the state, broke the silence, saying his docket and the staff is clean of any misdeed.

“As the minister of education, I would like to announce that neither the ministry nor the minister and any staff has sold off the school land,” Cirisio told journalists on Friday.

An agreement document shared with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, shows the state ministry of Education leased plot of land to MCC General Trading & Investment firm for period of 25 years.

The state minister faulted his accusers of misconstruing the legal text of the transaction on the land.

“Even the former ministers had not sold out any school land. Maybe the definition betrayed her, what is there in these accusations that were made, is the investment,” he added.

In the agreement document an area of 25 by 30 square meters was given to MCC company to build a business centre and the monthly rental fees was placed at USD 1,200 for initial 2 years before it would rise to $28,000.

Cirisio explained that the state government intended to build a library that would help learners.

“No public schools have been privatized across South Sudan and the statement made by the national minister is untrue,” Cirisio echoed.

He cited that the deal was signed under supervision of the state legal administration and public prosecutor and money goes to state coffer, no piaster goes into an individual pocket.

“I am expecting from our country institution to embark on administrative accountability before taking it to the media if there is really a mistake,” he said.

Based on the MoU, the company will provide minibus (Hiace) to state ministry of education to ease mobility to schools as well as construct wall fence on the western side of Supiri Secondary School.

Besides, a receipt dated February 2, 2023, with serial No. 7807844 issued by the CES ministry of finance shows that MCC general Trading had paid twenty thousand eight hundred USD.

Another receipt dated March 15, 2023, with serial No.2271660 issued by the CES ministry of finance shows that MCC General Trading had paid seven thousand and two hundred USD.

However, on Saturday last week, the national minister of General Education and Instruction, Awut Deng and CES governor, Augustino Jadallah while touring Supiri Secondary School, found that a part of the land was “sold off” to investors.

In effect, the state minister of Education, Mr. Cirisio was put on the spotlight for after allegedly being found at the wrong side of the law over the sale of public-school land.

National Minister of General Education and Instructions, Awut Deng Acuil, while speaking to the media said her docket would take legal action against the state minister.

“So, legal processes will be taken against him because this is becoming too much,” Awut said.

Central Equatoria State governor, Augustino Jadallah also issued stern warning that any minister involved in such malpractices would face full force of the law.

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