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Two South Sudanese Australians sentenced to life imprisonment in South Sudan

Enhanced image of Australia and South Sudan Source: Ajak Deng Chiengkou

Kur Ayuen Kou and Anyang Majok Ayuen are Australian citizens sentenced to life imprisonment in South Sudan. The two Australians were accused, tried and found guilty as accomplices in the case that involves many senior officials in the office of President Salva Kiir.

Two Australian citizens are among 16 people sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged loss of 14 million US dollars from the office of the President, ministry of Finance and the banks.  

 

Kur Ayuen Kou and Anyang Majok Ayuen were sentenced by Judge Lado Armino of the South Sudanese County with ‘the powers High Court’ in the capital Juba on Monday 13th of June.

 

The two Australians 'who are dual citizens of South Sudan and Australia' returned to their ancestral homeland during the 2011 referendum.

One of the dual nationals, Kur Ayuen Kou, was a civil society advocate during South Sudan's 2011 referendum and identifies as one of the founders of Queensland based civil society agency "My Referendum". Kur subsequently moved back to South Sudan to continue his civil society’s work and later joined the government.

 

The second Australian dual national, Anyang Majok Ayuen, left Australia after finishing his studies and found employment as a banker with one of South Sudan's local banks.

 

Agou John Wuoi Chuit was arrested on the 29th of May, accused of misappropriating public funds, forging the President´s signature, and money laundering as part of a plot to embezzle 30 million South Sudanese pounds. At the time of the arrest Agou John was working as a security officer for South Sudan´s Presidential Office.

Agou's arrest led to a police investigation that saw the arrest of almost all the officials working in the office of President Kiir.

 

Among the office managers, account controllers and senior officials arrested was Mayen Wol, the Executive Director of the President´s office. Agou´s father in law and wife, Susan Anyieth, were also arrested. 

The two South Sudanese Australians are part of the individuals and senior officials in the office of President, Central Bank and Ministry of Finance officials found guilty of being accomplices or taking part in the alleged embezzlement, forgery and other 14 charges. Kur Ayuen Kou was found guilty of being part of Agou John´s illegal operations, while Anyang Majok Ayuen was implicated in illegal money transfers. The 16 arrested include 4 Kenyans, 10 South Sudanese nationals and two Australians.

 

Lawyers for the 16 men sentenced this week complained of intimidation by the South Sudanese government but intend to appeal the sentences in the coming weeks.

 

Source SBS