Bureau of Standards refutes extortion claims

By James Atem Kuir

The National Bureau of Standards has dismissed reported extortion of money from traders by staff, saying it has not yet sent out a team for inspection for the year 2021.

On Wednesday, Robert Pitia, the chairperson of Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce reported that two traders from Suk Libya and Gudele 1 launched complaints about extortion of money by alleged staff from the National Bureau of Standards to his office over the last five days.

According to Pitia, the traders were made to pay between 10,000 and 20,000 SSP even after the officials found no fault with their items.

However, in an exclusive interview with Juba yesterday, Majak Deng Kuol the Director General of the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) said the institution has not yet dispatched teams for inspection since the beginning of 2021.

“Up to now, we have no team that has gone to the markets to carry out inspection. We have not sent anyone to the markets or any factory here in Juba. It is not true that our staff have carried out inspection this year.  This must be criminals using our names to rob the traders. We do not condone misconduct of staff at all,” he avowed.

He however admitted that apart from imposing fines on goods deemed deficient, the inspection superintendents do collect inspection charges from traders, whose products have been examined but with provision of receipts.

“According to the law that established this institution, we have the authority to collect inspection charges from traders after inspection. The Financial Act says when you collect the money with receipts,” he stressed.

The Director General also pledged to investigate the alleged misconduct and warned traders against paying to conmen who cheat while pretending to be inspection staff.

“I want to make this clear to our people outside; they have the right to refuse to give money if you are not given the receipt indicating the exact amount you have paid. And we are going to investigate this report. We are going to inform those of CID, national security and economic security to help us identify the people who may try to cheat the traders,” he said.

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