Juba, South Sudan,
June 20, 2021 – Officials from the Western Equatoria State Coordination office in the capital Juba are baying for each other’s blood over the top seat of the branch administration.
At least two officials identified as Victor Benneth Keliopas and his rival Ngbaiwe Elia Taban who is currently the coordinator are in disagreement over the administration of the office.
Keliopas, whose actual position is the Secretary for Information and Telecommunication made a declaration earlier this week that he was now the new coordinator. This happened in the absence of Mr. Taban in a coup-like phenomenon.
The incident happened just after Taban traveled from Juba to Yambio, the WES capital, on an official visit for reasons not disclosed.
Keliopas claimed Taban engages in graft and misappropriation of State resources, claims the latter denied.
In a fresh twist of the event, Keliopas went to assume the office as the new coordinator but was in for a surprise after he was barred from entrance by security personnel, who were allegedly deployed by Taban.
“Yes, I declared myself yesterday (Thursday) evening, I informed the governor’s office, and Director General of State Finance and told them clearly that on Friday I will be the coordinator,” Keliopas revealed.
Keliopas says his declaration to assume the top seat was prompted by the crumbling state of the administrative affairs of the coordination.
“What I did was not an attempted coup, I declared myself as a coordinator after trying several times with the high authorities, I have even informed the Governor’s office including the State Minister of Labor and Public Service who held from SPLM-IO who is also the party’s Secretary,” he explained.
“The coordinator is a corrupted person, everyone working with him knows how corrupted he is, imagine just seven months in office so far he bought two cars and building houses which we all know about,” he claimed.
He said the coordination office has over 12 million South Sudanese Pounds monthly and the coordinator has been using the money for buying cars and building houses while neglecting people he works with.
“One of the categories I so far know he is doing is embezzlement, because he used to do his things alone, he used to bring companies and can sign the contracts without somebody involving from the office,” he added.
Keliopas called on the State government to investigate his rivals.
“We need to dialogue that is why we are calling on the government of Western Equatoria State to intervene in this administrative system.”
However, Mr. Taban dismissed all allegations made by Keliopas, calling him a criminal bent on an agenda to create instability within the administration.
“What this young man has done is really a “coup deter”, in South Sudan, coup deter is not allowed, whoever plans it is already a rebel,” he said.
Taban says while Keliopas is entitled to criticize his administration like any other, his approach should be constructive.
“Yes, he would have taken the legal procedures and presented all his evidence if he thinks what he was claiming was right,” he stressed.
He added that “As a coordination office, we will not allow whoever will violate the peace agreement because what Keliopas is planning is a clear violation of peace agreement, a coup against the coordination office is a coup against all the government of WES,” he said.
Mr. Taban revealed that they have suspended Keliopas until further notice.
“We cannot allow him to enter the office because he is planning something against the law of South Sudan.
“What we have done just that we have suspended him seven days until the committee is formed to investigate him and look into the matter,” he revealed.
He said the Governor has been notified of the incident.