NAIROBI – The Kenyan High Court has blocked the government of South Sudan from withdrawing at least Sh5.4 billion ($49.2) from its Kenyan accounts at NCBA for at least 14 days.
This is to allow a firm linked to former minister Cyrus Jirongo to pursue an appeal.
A ruling delivered last Friday by Justice Joseph Sergon said the order will only last for two weeks as Yusung Construction Company pursues an appeal against orders unfreezing the accounts of the South Sudanese government.
Orders freezing the accounts were granted in December. They were extended from time to time before different judges until last month, when Justice Said Chitembwe lifted the orders. The lifting was after a plea by South Sudan that the freeze was hurting some of the government operations.
While lifting the order on February 26, Justice Chitembwe heard that the government could not meet some of its obligations, including paying salaries. The judge said South Sudan can operate the bank accounts at NCBA and Stanbic Bank.
But soon after the orders were lifted, the company, through Haron Omeke Makomba, sought an order suspending the decision, pending an appeal.
In his ruling last week, Justice Sergon said, “in view of the fact that various judges have issued orders which appear to be in conflict, I think the court best placed to determine an application such as the one now before this court is the Court of Appeal.”
He directed Makomba to file the application before the appellate court within 14 days and barred South Sudan from removing the amount, which is the amount that had been agreed by consent before the East African Court of Justice on November 26, 2020.
In the dispute, the firm won a tender to put up the John Garang Military Academy, and the Natinga Warehouses in 2008.
Records from the Registrar of Companies attached to court papers show that Yusung is owned by Makomba and Judith Khalamwa Shakhalanga, Jirongo’s wife.
South Sudan officials say in court documents that no more work was done, and everything went silent until two years ago when Yusung Construction approached the East African Court of Justice demanding payment of $49.3 million (Sh5.4 billion) as due sums with interest.