An elderly man in Juba says he is living in fear after a member of the national parliament tried to evict him from his plot.
As he narrates his ordeal to Eye Radio, Ochan Donato Deng says he got the Gurei land title deed in 2013, after which he developed it and moved in.
In 2014, his immediate neighbour Simon Malual Deng, an MP representing Western Lakes State at the TNLA showed up with a title deed of the same land, marking the beginning of the dispute.
Ochan Donato Deng then reported the case to the police, which then referred it to court. But the Juba high court, in turn, referred the case back to Luri county authorities to settle it.
The county authorities then called for a survey of the land and found that Malual and Ochan’s plots are adjacent.
Both plots are measuring 20 meters by 20 meters.
Ochan was given plot number 699 and the other plot number 743 for Honorable Malual, who refused to accept the settlement.
The two neighbours have since then not been living in peace.
Last year, Honorable Malual reportedly had Ochan taken by the army after he accused him of insulting the soldiers.
An army officer who was handling the case forwarded the matter to the police, saying it was not the mandate of the army to deal with such a case.
On the other hand, the police in Juba dismissed the case since it was not backed by any evidence.
On Wednesday, Ochan said he was shocked to learn that Malual had demolished the fence that separates the two plots.
“He came at night with sticks and pulled down the fence, and threatened me. He said I will not sleep in that place unless he is not an Honorable,” Ochan told Eye Radio.
The South Sudan Penal Code of 2008 stipulates that whoever threatens another with any injury…or with intent to cause him or her alarm or to cause him or her to do any act which he or she is not legally bound to do…commits criminal intimidation, and upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with a fine or with both.
However, Honorable Malual denied threatening the elderly man.
“The allegation that I threatened him is unacceptable. I did not threaten him -that is is not true,” he said.
Hon. Malual told Eye Radio that Ochan’s claim over the peace of land is entirely not true.
“I was there since 2013, and before that, I even put up a fence using bamboo sticks between me and him. We are neighbours, but I have 10 meters land extension, but the took 10 meters which is not his plot,” he asserted.
This morning Saturday 10, Ochan told Eye Radio that Malual -accompanied by armed personnel -again allegedly threatened him last night, demanding that he vacates the land.
Ochan said the matter has been presented before the court, but no hearing has been set to resolve the matter.
But according to documents seen by Eye Radio, the matter was brought to the attention of the office of Jubek State governor.
In a letter dated 3rd May 2019, the state State Secretariat referred to the ruling of Luri County Commissioner which had earlier resolved to compensate Mr. Ochan with a piece of land in exchange for that which has been acquired by Honorable Malual.
“The governor of Jubek State….can not endorse it because the decision of the Commissioner of Luri County is final,” the letter partly reads.
Commissioner Emmanuel Paul Jurkin wrote to the Attorney General at the High Court in March this year acknowledging his final decision on the dispute between Malual and Ochan.
In his directive, the commissioner said “it has been found that Ochan got his documents from a former chairman of Komiru Development Association as an individual, whereas Hon. Malual acquired his papers from the community” for plot No. 699 Block [iv].
The findings of the Komiru Development Association in 2018, found that both parties have constructed houses in the same plot, and both have legitimate documents.
It, therefore, resolved to compensate Mr. Ochan with plot No. 444 Block [ii] within Joppa residential area.
When asked why he is insisting on the original piece of land and not the one given as compensation, Mr. Ochan claimed he has not been shown any land as indicate in the various letters.
“That piece of land does not exist. No one has shown me where it is. But my concern is the use of intimidation with threat to violence. Does anyone have the power to come with armed people to remove me from my land by force?” he asked.
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