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Gov’t entities, officials sued in JEDCO power saga

Juba, South Sudan,

May 15, 2021 A national legal firm has filed a lawsuit against five institutions and two senior government officials implicated in the saga involving the Juba Electricity Distribution Company (JEDCO).

South Sudan's new Juba power plant(Photo credit: supplied/Nyamilepedia)
South Sudan’s new Juba power plant(Photo credit: supplied/Nyamilepedia)

In April, Kiir Chol Deng Acuil of the Kiirdit Company Advocates in Juba sued JEDCO over what it called an unjustified condition given by the company ordering the government to pay its due in United States Dollars within a specified period.

The government failed to pay within the stipulated time frame.

In response, JEDCO interrupted the power supply for almost a week to the disadvantage of the consumers who pay electricity levy directly to the government.

Kiirdit and Company Advocates submits that JEDCO had no legal ground to act in the manner that inconvenienced consumers who are not directly answerable to the company.

Nyamilepedia was reliably informed that the government pays $3 million to JEDCO, its parastatal, on a monthly basis – part of the money (if not all), comes from what power levy paid by consumers.

However, parties to this arrangement appeared to have deviated as evident in the delayed wiring of the mandatory payment, forcing JEDCO to take a tough decision; halting the power supply.

Realizing this, and with JEDCO already under their belt, Kiirdit and Company Advocates requested the High Court to place the case on hold as it ropes in more parties.

Earlier this week, JEDCO lawyer Thomas Remijo Lino submitted the company’s legal defense to the High Court, dismissing and confirming some accusations labeled against it by Kiirdit and Company Advocates.

Mr. Lino submits that JEDCO operates accordingly in line with section 38 sub-section (a) of the Civil Procedure Act 2007.

According to a document submitted to the court, the defense lawyer of the company says the written statement of the plaintiff is not in accordance with section 34 subsection (e) of the Civil Procedure Act 2007 stating that it was void of facts constituting a cause of action.

“The defendant is a legal body registered in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development department of the business registrar in accordance to section (6) of the company’s act 2012.”

“The written statement of claim of the plaintiff does not disclose accuse of action and this is contrary to section 38 subsection (a) of the Civil Procedure Act 2007. Cause of action is being defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as the fact or facts which gives a person a right to judicial redress or relief against another,” the document partly reads.

After receiving JEDCO’s response, advocate Kiir Chol of the Kiirdit Company Advocates requested the High Court to halt the case for 60 days as the legal group goes after implicated companies.

“We requested the court stop the proceeding of the JEDCO case for 60 days to enable us to get the lift from the Ministry of Justice to sue the following institutions and individual government officials.

“These include the National Electricity Authorities, Ministry of Electricity, Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank of South Sudan, Governor of Central Bank, and former Minister of Electricity Hon. Deu Matok. These are the institutions that we are asking the Ministry of Justice to give us the approval to sue in addition to JEDCO,” he said in the statement.

Kiir blames the aforementioned institutions and individuals that he says have machinated the exploitation of JEDCO.

He said the mentioned institutions and individual government officials had or have the legal duties to ensure that the electricity is regulated properly and according to the country’s law.

“So because of their fault, we are bringing them to court together with JEDCO to answer and clarify some complaints labeled against them,” he added.

“The Central Bank should explain why it pays JEDCO US $3 million per month while the company charges consumers in hard currencies and Hon. Dew as former Minister of Electricity will have to tell us how he allowed such agreement to happen,” he disclosed.

He said the law has not given any mandate to a government official or institution to abuse power for selfish gain and interest.

According to Kiir, the outcry from residents against JEDCO is due to a lack of a proper regulatory framework which emboldened JEDCO to act as it pleases.

“We are going ahead after the high court has given us green light. The case of JEDCO is suspended for sixty days until we bring those institutions and other government officials to the court to join the proceedings,” he said.

He said by law, the country is supposed to establish what is called National Electricity Regulatory Authority, which is the body that is supposed to regulate, and fix the charges of the electricity in the country.

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