26th September 2020
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MP detained over disputed land in Juba

Author: Joakino Francis, Daniel Danis | Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

An aerial view of Juba | Credit | Unknown

A recent wrangle over land in Juba between a legislator and an elderly man has led to the alleged detention of a member of parliament.

Police reportedly arrested Hon. Simon Malual Deng this week after Ochan Donato Deng accused him of harassment and land grabbing.

The land in question measures 20 by 20 meters-located in Gurei, a suburb of Juba.

According to Ochan, he got the Gurei land title deed in 2013, after which he developed it and moved in.

But in 2014, his immediate neighbor-Simon Malual Deng, an MP representing Western Lakes State at the national parliament showed up with a title deed of the same land, marking the beginning of the dispute.

Ochan was given plot number 699 and the other plot number 743 for Honorable Malual, who allegedly refused to accept the settlement. The two neighbors have since not been living in peace.

Ochan has severally accused MP Malual of using men in uniform to intimidate him and threaten his family.

But Malual vehemently denied making such threats and claimed Ochan instead encroached 10 meters into his plot.

In a twist of event, Honorable Malual revealed to Eye Radio on Monday that he was arrested and detained for more than 24 hours by the police over the same land.

His detention followed a warrant of arrest issued by the Legal Administration and Public Prosecution Attorney for Jubek, Terekeka and Yei River States.

According to the order seen by Eye Radio, Malual stand charged with an offense under Section 225, 245 and 315 of the Penal Code.

These sections deal with Assault or use of Criminal Force without Provocation, Criminal Intimidation, and the mischievous acquisition of property.

Malual describes the accusations and his detention as violations of his rights as a Member of Parliament, saying the constitution grants him immunity from any form of prosecution.

“The paper that contains the allegations raised against me is in the file and anytime the court will call me for the case, now how can I go and stand in the court with my immunity?” Malual wondered.

With regards to the immunity of the MP, the Minister of Justice in October 2019 wrote a letter to the Speaker of the national parliament to allow Malual to appear before the Public Attorney.

In response, the Speaker granted permission for the initiation of criminal proceedings against Hon. Malual.

The letter dated October 24th, however, did not lift the immunity of Malual, until after the investigations are done.

Although Article 67 of the constitution prohibits any criminal proceedings against a lawmaker such as Hon. Malual, it grants permission if the MP is caught committing an offense for which the police may arrest without a warrant.

It gives the Speaker and the appropriate House the power to waive the immunity of any member charged with a serious crime.

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