Juba Regency Hotel takes City Council to court over fine

The Juba Regency Hotel has initiated legal proceedings against the Juba City Council Authorities, contesting substantial fines imposed on the hotel at the end of last month.

The Juba Regency Hotel has initiated legal proceedings against the Juba City Council Authorities, contesting substantial fines imposed on the hotel at the end of last month.

On November 30th, the Juba City Council took a firm stance against littering, levying a substantial $20,000 fine on the Regency Hotel for violating waste disposal regulations. The fine, issued under the Local Government Act of 2009, specifically targets institutions contributing to the city’s waste crisis.

Kiir Chol Deng, the lawyer representing the Juba Regency Hotel, told Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday that they decided to take legal action against the Juba City Council in a civil court that will begin on Thursday, 7 December.

He pointed out that the basis for the lawsuit is that the fine imposed on the hotel did not adhere to the correct procedures and was issued by an individual whose position is not recognized in accordance with the law.

“We have filed a case today [Tuesday]. On November 30th, Deputy Mayor for Social Service Thiik Thiik Mayardit, accompanied by an armed police force, visited Juba Regency and abruptly imposed a fine of $30,000, later reduced to $20,000, alleging mismanagement of waste within the Juba Regency, which is absolutely incorrect,” explained Counsel Chol.

“As a result of the imposed fine, we filed a civil case challenging this administrative decision. Our grounds for the challenge are based on the principle that, according to the country’s laws, any offense against the law should undergo investigation, have charges framed, and be submitted to trial by a competent court,” explained Chol.

The barrister emphasized that Thiik Thiik or the Juba City Council lacks the authority to enforce fines under any circumstance. They view this action as unlawful, prompting their decision to go to court to challenge the decision. A summons has been issued to the city council, requiring them to appear before the civil court on Thursday.

Chol clarified that their challenge extends beyond contesting the fine imposed on the hotel. He noted that they seek the court’s consideration of the Deputy Mayor’s position as null and void, asserting that such a position does not exist in the Local Government Act of 2009.

“We are not only challenging the illegitimate fine; we are also asserting that the two deputy mayors of the Juba City Council are occupying non-existent positions. According to the Local Government Act of 2009, there is no provision for a Deputy Mayor; we only have a Mayor and an Executive Director. Consequently, we argue that these two deputy mayors are in illegitimate positions, and any decision they make is therefore illegal,” Chol stated.

Chol accused the City Council and Thiik Thiik of posing a threat to businesses, asserting that numerous enterprises have faced collapse due to substantial fines imposed by the city authorities.

“This isn’t the first instance; I personally witnessed Thiik Thiik Mayardit doing this a year ago. He imposed a $40,000 fine on Juba Regency Hotel without negotiation. Now, he has repeated this action, personally informing the management of Juba Regency that they are fined $30,000. We perceive his actions as abusive, especially given his relation to the president. It is a form of intimidation, which poses a significant risk to businesses,” Advocate Chol expressed.

“We are taking legal action against four defendants: The City Council itself, the two deputy mayors, and the director of the Juba City Council. Our objective is twofold. Firstly, we seek a court declaration labelling the imposed fine as illegal or unlawful. Secondly, we want the court to declare the positions alleged by Thiik Thiik and the other deputies as non-existent and, consequently, illegal. They hold no legitimate authority; the law establishing the City Council did not create such positions,” he added.

Deputy Mayor Thiik Thiik Mayardit or the Juba City Council could not immediately be reached for comment.

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