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Ministry’s bank account frozen over USD 500,000 debt

By William Madouk Garang

Kator Court has frozen the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Education’s bank account in the Central Bank and seized one car following its failure to pay $561,121.3, to a service provider firm – Kit Construction & Investment Co.Ltd which was contracted about six years ago to build a boarding school in Rejaf County.

The order came after the state Ministry of Education failed to settle the debt between them and the South Sudanese owned firm – Kit Construction and Investment which was awarded the school construction project in early 2015.

According to the agreement they were to use their own money to start building up the Rejaf Secondary school up to superstructure level and then they would be paid 40 per cent of the total money.

Unfortunately, after the company had built up two blocks of classroom containing eight classes, two science laboratories, a library, latrines administration and staff blocks, kitchen and others per designs no coins were paid to them.  

In his letter addressed to the Central Bank of South Sudan, the judge. Peter Mustafa Karijo had directed the Central bank to provide him with the bank statement and swiftly blocked the account in question.

“Reference to the above-mentioned subject, you are hereby directed by this court to provide full information about A/C No. 00269131397212 that belongs to the judgment debtor- State Ministry of Education (CES) has to be frozen,” Judge Karijo stated in the letter dated 17th November 2021.

In a reaction to the judge’s order, the Director for Banking Operation, Deng Aru Bol notified the Court that the action had been taken and the account was blocked as per court the order.

“Reference is made to your letter dated 17 Nov 2021 to the cited subject, the bank is hereby notifying your esteemed office that the action was accomplished as per court request Kit Construction and Investment Co. Ltd against State Ministry of Education Central Equatoria and its account number held with the bank of South Sudan 00269-13139-7212,” reads part of the statement dated 2nd of December 2021.

In a phone call interview with Juba Monitor, the Managing Director of Kit Construction and Investment, Richard Orome lamented that nobody was paying heed from the State Education side but after the court ruled for them to pay debt an up-to-date quotation had to be made to meet the current market value.

“One thing is that we had to write to the state ministry of housing to have their engineers. So, we took engineers to the site where they made all the measurements. They saw the whole site and then come out with the correct quotation,” Orome said.

“It was done, they brought it and gave it first to director of housing afterwards the director wrote a letter to the court bearing US 561,121.3 without labour. The court on the other hand wrote a letter to the ministry of education but no answer, “he added.

He also said that most of the companies they were having business ventures with had left and staff had gone for several months without being paid because the company was left with nothing to pay staff.

 However, the State Ministry of Education, CirisoZakariaLado confirmed to Juba Monitor that it was indeed true the bank account had been blocked over unsettled debt and added that they were working to resolve the matter but did not elaborate how.  

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