19 September 2017

South Sudan: Court Frees Six in Presidency Theft Case

The South Sudan High Court has acquitted six of the 16 people convicted for stealing millions of dollars from the Office of the President.

The 16 individuals, including four Kenyan nationals, were accused of playing a role in the loss of more than $14 million and 30 million South Sudanese Pounds.

They were sentenced to life in prison in June 2016, but the Court of Appeal referred the case back to the High Court, citing lack of enough evidence.

Proven innocent

The deputy Chief Justice, Mr John Gatwech Lul, said the six individuals set free were proven innocent, based on thorough investigations.

Those acquitted are Anyang Majok Ayuen, Garang Aguer, Anyieth Chaat Paul, Mayen Wol, Chaat Paul and Nhomuot Agoth Cithiik.

"They are found innocent and are acquitted from all the charges they were tried and they must be set free immediately," Mr Gatwech said.

He, however, said the remaining 10, including the four Kenyans, were found guilty and would serve different jail terms.

Weak and corrupt

They include John Agou Wuoi, Yel Luol, Francis Yata, Diing Ajiing and Anthony Madimo.

Others are Ana Kalisto, Kur Ayuen, Anthony Dia, Raphini Jadada, and one Lisiuma.

The court reduced the sentences of nine of the convicts to nine years in prison; and 13 years for John Agou, who is considered the mastermind of the crime.

The South Sudan justice system has attracted criticism beyond the borders for being weak and corrupt.

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