National, News

Legislators investigate suspension of Modern Mall Construction

By Kidega Livingstone

 

Juba City Council Legislative Assembly has interrogated the Director of the Juba Block Council following the sudden suspension of construction on the first modern shopping mall in Juba town.

On May 24th, 2024, the construction of the Juba modern market, being carried out by the Infinity Development Construction Company, was halted.

This came after someone claimed the land belonged to them, and not to the Juba City Council.

It remains unclear whether the suspension was due to a court order. However, the engineering team of the construction company revealed that the order to stop work came from the project’s funding agents – the African Development Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

This followed a complaint from the individual claiming ownership of the land, without the knowledge of the Juba City Council.

In a meeting with the Juba City Council legislators yesterday, the Director of the Juba Block Council, Michael Francis, stated that the situation appears to be a planned effort by the complainant, as well as by certain unnamed government officials.

“What is happening is a plan, but I have limited information. We are facing interference as if this land doesn’t belong to the government. The Court was only one-sided, the accuser (Juba City Council) was not there, and the confusion was made purposefully,” Francis said.

He added that the Juba City Council did not receive any court order to stop the construction, but the individual claiming ownership had taken the matter to court.

Legislator Martin Akim James expressed that the purpose of the interrogation was to gather more information and understand why the construction had been halted.

He said the council would hold further meetings to ensure the construction continues, as the land belongs to the Juba City Council.

Dina Keji John, the Speaker of the Juba City Council Legislative Assembly, stated that they had visited the site, spoken with the engineers and government officials, and now have sufficient information to make a final decision on the matter.

“Now that we have enough information, we are going to sit down as soon as possible because we are not supporting the individual interest more than the public interest. We want to change the face of the city, and some people interfere with the development,” Keji said.

The Director of the Infinity Development Construction Company, Abraham Kolyn, expressed the need for cooperation from the Juba City Council and the project’s funders to allow the construction to resume.

In February 2022, the former Mayor of Juba City Council, Micheal Allah-Jabu Ladu, announced that the office had secured a $4 million grant from a development partner to build the first modern shopping mall in Juba town located in the former taxi park.

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