March 24, 2018 (JUBA) – Enormous pressure is mounting on South Sudan President, Salva Kiir to pardon and release jailed businessman, John Agou Wuoi from prison on health and humanitarian grounds, a recent online assessment Sudan Tribune independently conducted shows.
- Jailed South Sudanese businessman John Agou Wuoi (courtesy photo)
Agou is one of the 16 individuals jailed because of corruption scandal in the office of the president in 2015. Mayen Wol Jong (the former chief administrator in the president’s office) and Yel Luol Koor (former executive director at the presidency) were also implicated.
Mayen was among six of the 16 people acquitted by the High Court last year, but circumstances under he was released remains unclear.
On 19 March, President Kiir issued a Republican Decree No. 40 appointing Mayen as the undersecretary in the petroleum ministry
While high court found Mayen not guilty of criminal responsibility, sections of the public criticized his appointment by the president.
A survey conducted by Sudan Tribune on social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter indicates that calls for the South Sudanese president to pardon Agou have increased in the wake of the appointment Mayen as undersecretary in the ministry of petroleum.
In a Facebook post, August Mayai said “Mayen Wol as a new chief of petroleum is a terrible case of public expectation management”.
On his part, however, one Reuben Garang wrote, “One thing that South Sudan politicians do not fear is public. And public is toothless as long there no independent judiciary and free and fair election.
Mabior Akoi De Mabior said, “It is so disheartening to keep hearing so and so have been released, acquitted or pardoned, but nothing close to the name Agou John Wuoi. To add salt to the injury some are even appointed into high positions. South Sudan leadership, in all departments shall never cease to surprising (not) people”.
He added, “Agou John was accused, arrested, tried and sentenced to life, or should I say 75 years imprisonment with some other 15 “colleagues.” all but John have been either acquitted of their crimes or have simply been pardoned or release. I fail to understand why Agou John is not any of them. He is instead left loathing in jail for reasons best known to the judiciary and the executive”.
According to Mabior, Agou was left in prison allegedly because he seems not to have “powerful” representatives in the government.
“Simply put, he (John Agou) does not have a very big representative in the system whom the leadership can feel threatened if not listened to. He is just some small guy there who cannot stir things up for the big boys. God is always on the side of the weak,” he stressed.
Aguek John Abuoch, another Facebook user wrote, “Just thinking, release John Agou and make him office manager of Mayen Wol”.
Meanwhile a Twitter user named, Kachuol Mabil (@paulkasii) said, “release John Agou before his detention makes sense anymore”.
Agou is one of the 16 individuals who were accused of corruption case in the office of the president in 2015. He was arrested on 29 May 2015 together with four Kenyan citizens who were employees of his company, Click Technologies Limited. The decision to pardon all the individuals, including the four Kenyans and all the South Sudanese who had been jailed with them, was agreed following a bilateral talks between President Kiir and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi.
Among those pardoned was Yel Luol Koor, a former executive director at the presidency, who is the Kiir’s close relative. No reasons were given regarding the decision to single out Agou and leave him in prison, yet all the 16 individuals accused were tried and jailed for the same crimes.
Under Article 101(h) of South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution, the president shall to confirm death sentences, grant pardons, and remit convictions or penalties, as per the constitution and the law.