August 16, 2013 (JUBA) – Telar Ring Deng, the ex-legal advisor to South Sudan president Salva Kiir, has explained about his involvement in a land dispute between matter its owner and the Central Bank, saying he only wrote to remind the latter of a Supreme Court order for compensation.
- Telar Ring Deng (Photo credit: Moses Lomoyat)
The bank was, in January 2011, advised to purchase two plots adjacent to it on the assumption that a petrol station located on the said land was dangerous to the financial institution. The two plots Number 7 and DVI-Juba belong to one Garang Deng Aguer.
According to Telar, “it was imperative for the bank and for purposes of its safety from any fire outbreak, to purchase the two (2) plots from the aforementioned owner in accordance with the law and procedures that pertain to land purchase”.
However, Telar, in March, wrote to the central bank governor, Kornelio Koriom, questioning why he failed to implement the president’s directives on the land, prompting further legal proceedings from the owner against the bank.
The Supreme Court had earlier ruled in favor of the plot owner, demanding the bank compensates him for his land.
“It is hereby directed once again, that the directives of H.E, the President be implemented by compensating the owner of the plots at the market rate as may be agreed upon by the bank and the plots owner,” Telar’s letter, which was also copied to the president, reads in part.
In 1958, plots No. 7 and 8 DVI-Juba, were reportedly registered in the names of General Manager Nile Import and Trading Oil Company and General Manager Shell Co. Ltd respectively, before they were sold and registered in the name of Aguer, the promoter of the two companies.
However, in 2009, two plots reportedly changed ownership of title and were thus registered under the name of Bank of South Sudan.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the bona fide rightful owner, who had the indefeasible and lawful title to the said two parcels of land still held in his possession the titles to the two parcels of land,” Telar wrote in a 27 May letter to the Central Bank governor.
The Bank of South Sudan, Telar said in his letter, “erred” and “erroneously” relied on the decision of the Court of Appeal, which dispossessed the claimant of his right of quiet possession, although this decision has since been over turned by the Supreme Court verdict, which entered judgment in favor of the claimant, thus reverting the indefeasible and lawful title of the plots to the said claimant, on the 4th, August 2010.
“As such, the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal has got no legal effect, as it has been overtaken by the decision of the Supreme Court,” he stressed.
- Kornelio Koriom, South Sudan’s Central Bank Governor addresses journalists in Juba, 11 September 2012 (ST
Telar, in the letter to the bank governor, also supported his argument with the Supreme Court ruling, which issued instructions to the Register of Lands directing them to revert the title to the bona fide rightful owner.
Aguer, at one point, chose to amicably resolve his land issue with the Central Bank, arguing that he lost a lot financially when the two fuel stations on the plot were demolished.
As such, he had demanded that the bank pays him $7.5m, but the court later said the former be paid $6m, as the previous figure was deemed too much.
“It would not be to the best of our interest as a Government to compulsorily possess parcels of land without prompt compensation,” the Supreme Court ruling reads in part, while making reference to the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan provision on land acquisition.
The ex-legal adviser to the president was on Tuesday rejected by majority of the country’s lawmakers who considered him unsuitable for the position of justice minister. Although 97 MPs voted in his favour, 150 of them opposed Telar’s bid while 11 abstained during a close-door session held in the national assembly.
During his vetting, lawmakers also questioned Telar’s involvement in a $600m land transaction meant for national security offices in Juba. However, president Kiir later cleared his former legal adviser over any wrong doing in the matter.