Gwalla Community of Bor county petitions South Sudan President Salva Kiir over a controversial land ownership

Third, we have become aware of the recent judicial ruling (April 2009) that gave the land ownership to Abdalla Bilal’s daughters and which undermined a prior court ruling in 2008 and the gentlemen agreement in which Bilal was granted a temporary use of the land. We disagree and are ready to appeal the decision of this kangaroo court and ask that it be annulled. The constitution of the jury or court and the evidences submitted before it were inadmissible in court and should have been dismissed in a fair trial, as a matter of procedure for the following reasons: 

    1. Justice Ayak Kom should never have been involved in the appointment of the judging panel because of conflict of interests. Mr Justice Ayak Kom was until very recently a junior Legal Counsel in Mr Abel Alier’s Law Syndicate in Khartoum following his discharge from Sudan Judiciary by the NCP government in mid 1990s. Neither should he have been considered, under normal judicial procedure, as a person with no vested interest in this case. His former partner, Mr Abel Alier is an interested party to the case and in effect, a prosecutor behind his wife, Thiyama Bilal, who is one of the daughters of Abdallah Bilal. It would not be a stretch of imagination if Mr Abel may have been behind the scenes to influence the appointment of Mr Justice Kom to the Jury entrusted with the case. Having saved Justice Kom from destitution when he was kicked out of Judiciary and faced with vicious unemployment in recent past, it is very likely that Mr Alier had considered that the time was right for him to get a payback from Mr Justice Kom, who obliged by pre-deciding the case in favour of Abel’s wife. With the appointment of Mr Justice Ayak Kom to the Court, Mr Abel Alier was, in effect, a prosecutor and a Judge at the same time.
    1. We also observed, with disdain, the witness statement of another of Mr Alier’s Alibis, the former Governor of Jonglei State, Mr Phillip Thon Leek, who was instructed by Mr Abel to hand over the land of Malual-Agorbar to his in-laws (and by inference to himself). Despite Mr Alier knowing perfectly well that his claim to this land, on behalf of his wife and sisters-in-law, was contested, Mr Alier unashamedly went ahead with the instruction in the hope that Mr Thon Leek would use the power of his office as Governor to grab the land from Gwalla Community and hand it over to him as planned. To Mr Thon’s credit, on sensing the strong sentiment from and resolve of Gwalla Community to hang on to its land, at whatever the cost, he became wiser than his former boss in the ill-fated Jonglei Canal Project. He (Mr Thon) decided to deliver what would superficially appear to be some rude awakening call to Mr Alier’s camp by not grabbing the land, using the state force, and cleverly played the witness card instead. Essentially he knew what he was doing. He was the indispensable witness who orchestrated, on behalf of Abdalla’s daughters and their husbands, the provision of fraudulent testimonials, under his instruction, from public service departments in his Administration for the plaintiffs to present in the Court of Law (see Bor County Commissioner’s statement retracting his previous witness testimony). It is important to remember here the close connection between Mr Alier and Mr Thon Leek because, this connection was central to Mr Alier’s instruction, in the first place, and motivated him to instruct Mr Thon (the Governor) in the manner he did. The tie between the two men (Mr Alier and Mr Thon) date back to the years when the former Vice President was at the helm of power in South Sudan. Mr Alier, during his term as President of the then High Executive Council for southern Sudan and Chairman of the ill-famous Jonglei Canal Executive Organ, had elevated Mr Leek from young inexperienced field officer in the Project to that of the Third most senior executive official (Director) and based at the Project Head Office at Langbar, Bor Town. Mr Alier, rightly from his perspective, had expected Mr Thon Leek to do him a favour this time around by acquiescing to his request, thereby resolving the matter unfairly in favour of Mr Alier and Co. in a clear abuse of state power against legitimate claims of Gwalla Community.
    1. Zenab Bilal, wife of a retired notorious medical General Practitioner (GP) and current MP in South Sudan Parliament Dr Chol Dau, went around to Public Service Offices in the Jonglei State Capital, Bor boasting about the power and influence of Bilal’s daughters husbands (Hon Abel Alier, Hon Dr Chol Dau, GoSS Commissioner of Police Mr Makuei Deng and Mr Ambassador Charles Manyang) that would, in her words, sweep away any anticipated challenge from Gwallei to their (the Bilal’s) claim. In an attempt to make their case strong, she collected from public servants fake and unsubstantiated statements (the so-called documents) in support of their claim in Court (see a Claim of damages evaluation submitted in the initial Court case). Of course, it is not difficult to imagine that she (Zenab) used every possible trick in her book of lies and charm to enlist cooperation from officials including arm-twisting, intimidation and/or promises of rewards once the case was won. While she was on that mission the husbands mobilised behind the scenes some judges to rule in favour. Clearly, this contravenes matters of legal procedures and prejudices fair trial.

It would appear clear to any rational thinking person, save the legal minded, that the re-trial court decision in this case was predetermined/ prearranged on the outset of the constitution of the kangaroo court and, the court was nothing more than a badly staged caricature, intended to dress up an illegitimate decision by the Court in a legal form. To make this point clear, Mr Justice Kom was overheard, following his secret visit to the area in contest and before the panel was formed, as saying that the case of Bilal’s daughters, dismissed in an earlier court ruling, was going for a re-trial.