Sunday, April 2, 2023

High Court clears South Sudanese minister of money-laundering charges

The Kenyan Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Court at the High Court has cleared Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, South Sudan Minister of Cabinet Affairs, of money laundering charges that had been leveled against him by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA).

Dr. Lomuro was cleared of the charges after the court found that his explanation on his source of funds was satisfactory.

In the consent judgement recorded between Dr. Lomuro’s advocates and the Assets Recovery Agency, Lady Justice C. Githua, noted that, the ARA was satisfied with the explanation provided by the Dr. Lomuro on the source of his funds. Dr. Lomuro was represented by Kogweno & Bubi Advocates, LLP. While closing the case, the court rescinded the order it had issued in June 2021 freezing freeze the bank accounts of Dr. Lomuro at the Cooperative Bank of Kenya.

“I very much thank the Kenya High Court for its absolute integrity and for upholding high standards of the rule law, justice and equality for all regardless of nationality before the law in Kenya,” said Dr. Lomuro. “I also appreciate the ARA for acknowledging the authenticity of the sources of my funds.” Dr. Lomuro also called on the ARA to endeavour to conform to the country’s legal procedures and diplomatic protocols. “This will help the agency to avoid victimizing people in support of negative policy of external powers with negative political intentions in the region; South Sudan in this case,” Dr. Lomuro said.

Dr. Lomuro had filed an application on on July 7 seeking to set aside the order that had been obtained by the ARA freezing his bank account on allegations of money laundering. In an extensive affidavit dated 6th July, 2021, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro refuted all allegations of money laundering raised against him by elaborately explaining the source of all his funds in his account as arising from his salary, allowances and emoluments as a Minister and as a Member of Parliament in South Sudan. He additionally listed rental income from real estate investments in South Sudan properties, as part of the sources of his funds.

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Notably, despite enjoying diplomatic immunity, Dr. Lomuro co-operated fully with the ARA and the Anti- Corruption and Economic Crimes Court and demonstrated to ARA that the allegations of money- laundering leveled against him were unsubstantiated, malicious and unlawful.

Dr. Lomuro has been a key member of President Salva Kiir’s government since August, 2005. He served in 3 different ministries in the Republic of South Sudan before being appointed as Minister of Cabinet Affairs in July, 2013 and is the longest serving cabinet minister in that docket.

Between 2016 and 2018, he played a key executive role in the negotiations that led to the achievement of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and is instrumental in the implementation of the peace process working closely with President Kiir to ensure that peace prevails in South Sudan.

He is currently the lead and focal Minister representing the government in meetings of the Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), at the Intergovernmental Authority and Development (IGAD); African Union (AU); the United Nations (UN) meetings in Juba and various other expert meetings in South Sudan.

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