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Fired NilePet boss Bol Ring Muorwel

By James AtemKuir

Aftera reign marred by allegations of scandals including graft and nepotism, Bol Ring Muorwelconsequentlybid farewell to his jobas NilePet Boss barely a year after being appointed.

President Salva Kiir fired Mr. Muorwelas the Managing-Director of the National Oil firm, Nile Petroleum and Gas Corporation (NilePet)in a decree issued on the state-run SSBC TV on Thursday evening but made no mention of any reason for his sacking. The decree did not name any replacement either.

Following his appointment in September 2020, inside sources told Juba Monitor, the former NilePet Boss Mr. Muorwel embarked on a sacking spree of senior administrators replacing at least 14 directors and heads of department all together.

In early April this year, Mr. Muorwelagain came under fire when staff protested after he allegedly ordered for replacement of about 53 NilePet staff secondees working in Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC).

DPOC is one of the three Joint Operating Companies (JOCs) – including the Sudd Operating Company (SPOC) and Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) –operating the South Sudan oil sector alongside NilePet.

It is alleged that NilePet staff working in the JOCs received better pay compared to their colleagues deployed at the headquarters who are remunerated based on the government pay scale.

The controversial staff rotation was met with stiff resistance by the affected staff who accused Mr. Muorwel of nepotism and ordering security operatives to arrest them for protesting the enforcement of the policy.

Several of the affected staff who spoke to Juba Monitor on condition of anonymity alleged that -out of the alleged 53 staff seconded to take over their positions -at least 45 of them come from the same background as Mr. Muorwel.

Juba Monitor reviewed the list of the alleged 53 beneficiaries of Mr. Muorwel secondment, and found that at least 35 names on the list share similarities with the names, suggesting they come from a common background.

Juba Monitor could not however confirm whether the alleged staff were related to Mr. Muorwel in anyway.

Fortunately, the scheme was thwarted by the Ministry of Petroleum in a letter dated April 9 and written to Mr. HismanBasar, the president of DPOC and copied to his deputy Mr. AyuelAkochMalek.

The letter obtained by Juba Monitor halted all replacements or appointments of NilePet secondees andordered for the affected staff to continue with their duties in the respective employment areas until further notice.

The order signed by William Anyak Deng the Director-General of Petroleum Authority, also tasked DPOC to provide all the credentials of the new NilePet recommended staff (those recommended by Muorwel).

Juba Monitor also noted that the order was issued as a directive from Puot Kang Chol the Minister of Petroleum after several meetings with NilePet Management, in an attempt to find an amicable solution to the problem.

Juba Monitor sought comments from the management of NilePet particularly Mr. Muorwel but could not succeed as an official in thecommunication department kept promising to arrange with the management to respond to requestsfor interview but no avail.

After several unsuccessful attempts, days later, theofficial with NilePet communication and public relationsdepartment who identified himself only as Nadir told Juba Monitor: “We will not tell you anything about this thing now because the issue is still at the ministry of petroleum.This is between NilePet and ministry of petroleum, they are still in discussion. We cannot tell you anything until we get information from both NilePet and the Ministry of petroleum.”

At the time, Juba Monitor understood thattension brew between management of NilePet and Ministry of Petroleum as well as the Petroleum Authority assecurity operatives deployed on the alleged orders of Mr. Muorwel continue to intimidate and threatened to arrestthe disgruntled staff of NilePet at DPOC.

Several days later, the management of NilePet – in a press statement seen by Juba Monitor – for the first time publicly acknowledged and responded to what it termed as strike by national staff only in Dar Petroleum Operating Company or DPOC at the headquarters and in oilfields for the “last two weeks.”

The statement cited that there had been “misinformation” related to implementation of a new employment policy called Unified Human Resource Policy Manual (UHRPM 2020), developed by the ministry of petroleum and NilePet.

The statement however avoided clarifying how the implementation of the policy led to the alleged replacement of the 53 staff and neither responded to accusations of nepotism and favoritism in the deployment of staff.

The statement conceded that there was disagreement between the ministry of petroleum and NilePet on the execution of the new policy but downplayed the disagreement would stop the implementation of the controversial policy.

The Unified Human Resource Policy Manual required the oil companies (JOCs) pay both national and foreign workers equal amount of money among others.

It is worth noting that the policy is yet to take effect as some JOCs have failed to implement it. Press reports recently quoted Puot Kang Chol the Minister of Petroleum, the government suspended all partners’ personal tariffs for JOCs over failure to implement the UHRPM.

These events have coincided with the sacking of Mr. Muorwel who is yet to comment. In April this year President Salva Kiir Mayardit appointed new board of directors with mandate to streamline and ensure the smooth operations of the Nilepet. The Board is chaired by Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin while the fired MD was named the secretary.

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