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Western Equatoria State Coordination Office goes mute on corruption claims

Juba, South Sudan,

June 28, 2021 – The Western Equatoria State Coordination Office in Juba has employed a hard-to-find strategy to dodge questions on multiple allegations of corruption and office mismanagement labeled against it by an insider.

Western Equatoria State Coordination Office goes mute on corruption claims
Victor Benneth Keliopas, suspended Information Telecommunication Secretary (L), and Ngbaiwe Elia Taban, the incumbent coordinator

Last week, Nyamilepedia reported the leadership wrangle wrecking the State Coordination Office in the capital Juba between Victor Benneth Keliopas, an Information Telecommunication Secretary, and Mr. Ngbaiwe Elia Taban, the incumbent coordinator who was briefly replaced by the former in a coup-like leadership takeover.

Keliopas accused Mr. Taban of incompetence, financial misappropriation, and office mismanagement among a range of claims submitted for the replacement of the coordinator.

The leadership of Western Equatoria State responded by suspending Keliopas indefinitely on grounds of misconduct and insubordination.

The administration said it was setting up a committee to handle the leadership feud between the pair and launched an investigation into the range of allegations made by Keliopas.

However, it has taken more than two weeks, and neither action has been taken nor a committee was formed to address the issue according to Mr. Keliopas – who said the leadership promised to call him when all was set up.

“They have not called me up to now and I did not go to the office. They told me there was a committee that will be formed to investigate what happened, which was to be within seven days but so far nothing,” said Keliopas.

The suspended Telecommunication Secretary said he submitted a petition to relevant State authorities to suspend Mr. Taban from the position of the coordinator. He got no feedback but instead, security guards approached him.

“I actually took a step. So far, I have written a petition to the State Secretary-General, I have sent a copy to the Governor, Deputy Governor, and other concerned authorities to withdraw the coordinator,” he said.

“Though some of his [Taban’s] security guys approached me and trying to ask me about what went wrong exactly I told them I will reveal everything when the time comes,” he added.

Mr. Taban could not be reached for comments as several calls went unanswered. In a single case, he answered he was busy and could talk to the media.

He previously denied all allegations of misappropriation of public funds and office mismanagement.

But his Telecommunication Secretary – serving an indefinite suspension, is defiant and wants the coordinator removed.

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