On 13th of June 2016, 16 people accused of massive corruption, that led to disappearance of $14 million in the Office of the President were finally found guilty of crimes in the case brought to court by prosecution. The magnitude of evidence enabled prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. Consequently, they were convicted of crimes and sentence to life imprisonment. Prominent among 16 officials were Mayen Wol, Chief of Staff of President Kiir, John Agou, a security officer attached to the Office of the President, and Yel Luol, Executive Director of President’s office and Kur Ayuen Kou, Deputy Director, Directorate of Communications and Public Relations, OotP. These personalities were the architects of the criminal ring that has been manning President’s office for almost a decade. They had lived a lavish life style, throwing expensive birthday parties and weddings. They literally became de-facto rulers of South Sudan, as they had powers to ‘hire and fire’ at will.
This article seeks to set record straight, as to how some of the convicted people became involve. It also demystifies the assertion that Kur Ayuen’s crime was as a result of security eavesdrop of his phone communication with investigators on bribery arrangement to release his co-criminals, a typical red herring! There is more to that in this article. The article focuses on innocence of Chaat Paul Nuul, but will deal with similar innocence of Anyieth Chaat Paul and Anyang Majok Ayuen case in coming article. Chaat Paul Nuul is a respected freedom fighter, aid worker and a respected community leader, a father, husband, and above all, a loving grand-father! The author happened to know Chaat Paul in 1990s when he works for Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). He served there for nearly two decades, and there has never been reports of malpractices given his seniority in the organisation, by then, Kur Ayuen Kou works as a cook with NPA. Immediately after the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement, he was moved to Chairman’s office in Khartoum as communication director in the Directorate of Communications and Public Relations, Office of the First Vice President. After the death of John Garang, Kiir retained him and was kept in Khartoum, only to be transferred to Juba after South Sudan independence in the same capacity. In Khartoum, he was responsible for Kiir’s office and had access to finances, but never enriched himself through corrupt means, as others would have done.
It is in the Office of the President in South Sudan were Chaat Paul fell from ‘grace to grass’ when Agou John Wuoi, fired the deputy director in Chaat’s Directorate and hired Kur Ayuen in his place. This happened because, Agou by then had forged the signature and seal of the President. Many officials were decreed out without Kiir’s knowledge. Chaat was not privy to these dealings little did he know his son in-law was setting a stage for his down fall. To concentrate on Chaat directorate, and the office of the President in general. In order to be hired, an employee needs to possess indispensable requisite, such as formal a University qualifications, no prior convictions and be of good character. Agou by passed all these channels, thanks to his possession of President Signature and seal, and strategically appointed Kur Ayuen to deputised Chaat, in order to influence awarding of contracts to supply office stationary, T-shirts and anything needed for states’ celebrations to Agou’s Click Company. Kur Ayuen Kou in this sense did not qualify to deputise Chaat, since he did not have University qualifications and is of bad character! But alas! He had forged one! A Master’s Degree for that matter! He secured the job! Chaat was bluffed into believing Kur Ayuen’s grossly inflated qualifications and gave him a job without further ado, else he faces President’s wrath. Hence, Agou held all the aces within the Presidency, he was literally, a co-President and a class act for that matter! If at all, Kur Ayuen is tried for this crime, it might earn him a jail sentence of not less than three years. Mayen Wol and Yel Luol were privy to these corrupt dealings. They were cashing cheques of millions of dollars using forged President’s signature, of which they bought mansions in Kenya, Khartoum and Egypt.
As a consequence, Agou was able to lavishly wed Chaat’s daughter, Anyieth in Juba, bought a house in Nairobi and a fleet of top of range motorcades. In the same vein, Kur Ayuen was often seen flying with President all over the world showing off his ill acquired financial muscles. In the same Directorate of Communications and Public Relations, Kur Ayuen started undermining Chaat and embark on the creation of phantom projects such as Face the Nation TV Talk Show, hosted by another unethical journalist by the name Maal, hitherto with outstanding arrears from different hotels he used to live, wine and dine. Yet, revealingly, this thievery was betrayed by flamboyant lifestyle they proudly exude. This author was once in a hotel in Juba, having sumptuous dinner with dear friends. Then Kur Ayuen appeared. He was observed talking to a beautiful waiter in hush tone. He then got his drink and gulped it. After few minutes, he got up and proceeded to counter, ostensibly to clear his bill, little did we know that he will clear our huge bill too, considering the expensive lunches we had ordered and our number. He then waves at us confidently walking to his parked top of the range V8.Later, having ate to our fill, we got up and moved towards the counter to pay our bill. ‘Honourable Kur Ayuen has already cleared your bill!’ the smiling waiter told us upon enquiring about our bill. Even though it saved us some pounds for beers, I later regrated having eaten from proceed of crimes! Had security apprehended us, we would have most certainly got a life-time sentence, because, literally we have eaten from proceed of crime!
Incidentally, this account is a glimpse of Kur’s new found lifestyle he sought to project aggressively. Consciously or subconsciously, one would want to know the source of this filthy richness. In comparison to ministers, he was wealthier. How much did he earns in the OoTP is unknown. Even if the salary was $5000, it will take years to purchase properties and other things he does with his ill-gotten wealth. The fact is, he was deeply involved in numerous theft cases in Kiir’s office. The affluence he got was stolen, given how he acted and behaved and precisely seen in preceding description. In chaat’s directorate, the phantom projects created by Kur Ayuen without his knowledge led to loss of millions of dollars. This is how Chaat unwittingly became involved, but none is of his making. In essence, corruption was his bread and butter.
In conclusion, the felons are Agou John and Kur Ayuen Kou who desired to become rich overnight. Men without principles have caused Chaat of his social capital he has built over his life time. They literally made Chaat to fall from ‘grace to grass’ in a blink of eye. I want to assure those who wants to heap blames on Agou as the cause of the problem that all four I mentioned earlier, and particularly Kur Ayuen played great role in Chaat’s downfall .We have to question ourselves how does someone become rich within short time? How does one buy houses within that short time? We don’t need to be rocket scientists to discern these. Whether you are a brother, a father, an uncle, don’t defend these dudes blindly. We are fighting corruption but we need to set records straight. Chaat is not my blood relative but I have known him over the years as a man of high moral integrity but brought down by Kur’s and Agou’s sophisticated criminal machinations. These little dudes have never been honest if you happened to know their prior lives. In Kakuma, Kur Ayuen acted as interlocutor between those who want to get resettled in the USA and a resettlement officer in which he swindled a lot of Kenyan shillings. This is not a new thing and people need to understand these facts. Agou, on the other hand has been like that.
No doubt, they will remain as thieves for life, whether their sentences are reduced or not, but I wish they get shorter sentences on appeal and be release soon to come and face realities of their new created world. Hopefully, no one would pay and walk off confidently in present of this author again! In fact, the glaring display of riches was an epitome of greed, theft, moral degradation and utter selfishness. Their affluent lives, as a result of graft ostensibly made corruption and theft to be tolerated, celebrated, rewarded and appreciated, given the number of sycophants and gold-diggers they had mobilised during their daylight robbery. Chaat Paul paid the ultimate price as a result of his son in-law and erstwhile cook’s intrigues. Chaat Paul has never belittled his status before his peers or colleagues for that matter, let alone colluding to steal from the high office with his son in-law and his erstwhile cook. Posting Kur Ayuen to deputised Chaat was an ingenious ploy to undermined him and dent his social standing in South Sudan and Bor community. His engineered downfall has caused unimaginable anxiety in the country, but with far reaching distress in his family. I feel so sorry for Chaat Paul Nuul.
By Mayen Deng Chirwei contactable firstname.lastname@example.org
Juba, South Sudan