A Khartoum-based contractor has been given the green light to attach assets belonging to the government of South Sudan in Kenya, including bank accounts and imports passing through the country, to recover a $41.9 million claim.
Active Partners Group (APG) has obtained a court order allowing it to seize South Sudan’s assets to realise the amount awarded in January last year by an arbitration panel sitting in Nairobi.
The claim arose from a botched electrification contract that the company had signed with the Juba-based government.
South Sudan in July last year signed a deal with APG in which it committed to clear the compensation claim in eight installments of $3.9 million.
But APG says Juba reneged on the deal after paying the first installment and has ignored the firm’s subsequent demands for payment.
Arbitrators Philippe Pinsole, Karel Daele and Richard Omwela in January ruled that South Sudan had unlawfully cancelled the $197 million tender awarded to APG for the electrification of Africa’s youngest nation.
It is hereby ordered that South Sudan breached its obligations to APG under the technical contract and the claimant is entitled to damages in the amount of $41.9 million (Sh4.3 billion),” the court decree reads.
APG filed the suit at a Kenyan High Court because the arbitration proceedings took place in Nairobi.
APG’s lawyer Gilbert Mungu says he is in the process of tracing South Sudan bank accounts in Kenya, and the country’s imports on transit through the Port of Mombasa.
South Sudan mostly imports foodstuff like sugar and wheat, and medicaments which pass through Kenya. It also exports tanned sheep hides to Italy, France, Spain and China.
Mr Mungu added that APG has associates in Khartoum who are preparing to seize South Sudan’s oil transported via pipeline.
APG also wants to lay claim to shares that South Sudan has in Nile Pet-- a firm in which the country’s government is a majority shareholder.
“If the government of South Sudan does not resume payment within one week, our associates in South Sudan shall move to attach any oil they have in the pipeline cutting through Khartoum. We are in the process of tracing bank accounts the government of South Sudan has here in Kenya,” said Mr Mungu.
The government of South Sudan is yet to respond to any of the applications APG has filed at the Milimani High Court, and on December 15 fired its lawyer Collins Adipo. South Sudan did not give reasons for its decision.
APG’s managing director Mohammed Fagir now says in court papers that South Sudan only agreed to settle the Sh4.3 billion to trick his firm into withdrawing the suit filed in the Milimani Court.