The South Sudanese government has agreed to release four Kenyans who have been languishing in the country’s prison since 2015.
This is after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention to negotiate with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir.
The four, identified as Anthony Mwadime, Ravi Ramesh, Boniface Muriuki, and Anthony Keya, left Kenya in search for greener pastures as employees of Click Technologies – a technology retailer that sold electronic equipment including cameras to the State.
The company was owned by John Agou, a former security officer in South Sudan’s presidency, and his wife Anyeth Chat Bor.
It was accused of swindling the Office of the President of South Sudan and other ministries out of billions by receiving payments for no deliveries made.
Mr. Agou and his employees were also accused of forging the presidential seal in an attempt to withdraw the funds from the country’s Treasury.
The men along with 12 other South Sudan nationals were charged with offenses related to financial misappropriation.
Appearing in a High Court in Juba, the 16 were sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly conspiring to defraud the South Sudanese presidency of Ksh1.5 billion.
The court further barred them from the filing of an appeal within 30 days, as the sentence has to be submitted to the Supreme Court for a procedural confirmation.
Families of the four Kenyans had long lobbied the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to step in and secure their release following their arrest.
They accused the South Sudanese government of detaining them without trial. When they were later found guilty by the courts, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged an appeal on the grounds that they were not accorded a fair trial.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed took issue with the failure South Sudan to grant the accused Kenyans acceptable access to legal counsel.