JUBA (HAN) December 16.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. The High Court in South Sudan rejected a request by a National Security Service (NSS) operative, who spied on several individuals, to have his identity concealed, Legal Watch Associates South Sudan said a report released last week.
The 18-page report was part of findings into what transpired during inquiries into alleged corruption in the president’s office.
The document details how Napoleon Adok Gai “illegally and “unlawfully” monitored phone communications of people suspected to be working against government.
Napoleon appeared in person before the High Court judge after his request to have his face masked in order to hide his identity was rejected by court, the report stated.
“He [Napoleon] testified during the trial of the 16 accused people as prosecution witness number 24 on 4 May 2016 to play phones recording that implicated accused number 8 [Kur Ayuen Kou] in the criminal proceedings,” it adds.
Other phone recordings he played, according to the 18-page report, reportedly included phone conversations between John Agou and his wife, Anyieth Chaat Paul as well as conversations with one Andrew Awilly, a Kenyan national working with CFC Stanbic bank in Kenya.
The security operative also claims he has, within his custody, phone recordings of Agou with his lawyer in Kenya, a house maid, the head teacher in the school where Agou’s son studies, as well as from close friends.
“Napoleon claims that he has more than 100 audio voice recordings regarding the case,” further states the report.
However, during cross examination by defense lawyers to verify if the phone conversations were done legally and lawfully, Napoleon reportedly told the court he was not authorised by the Director General of General Intelligence Bureau Gen. Thomas Duoth Guet, either verbally or in writing to intercept telephone calls of Kou.
In his statement, he also confirmed he received no court order to intercept the same communication, but rather did it on “his own personal accord” and that he does not know if the phone recordings were relevant to the case.
One of the lawyers who represented the accused persons told Sudan Tribune that such evidence of illegal phone recordings should not have been admitted in the first place as prosecution evidence, citing the case of Pagan Amum and others Versus Republic of South Sudan, 2014.
The prosecution had by then presented the phone conversation between General Oyai Deng Ajak and Taban Deng Gai, as evidence to prove the alleged coup attempt during the December 2013 outbreak of conflict.
However, the court dismissed those phone conversations as illegal and a violation of individual’s privacy because of the manner in which phone recordings were obtained.
“The privacy of all persons shall be inviolable; no person shall be subjected to interference with his or her private life, family, home or correspondence, save in accordance with the law”, argued the defense lawyer, while quoting Article 22 of South Sudan’s Constitution.
Further stated state the lawyer, “After the phone conversations were not admitted as evidence and there were no other evidence for the prosecution to rely on, the case collapsed and it was dismissed all together”.
Over the years, however, the National Security Service has been monitoring phone communications of citizens with descending voices, political leaders, opposition lawmakers and civil society activists at their operation base called “Aquilla Center” opposite the SPLM House in contravention of Article 22 of the Transitional Constitution.
“What is shocking in this particular case is the extent National Security Service surveillance program has extended to neighbouring countries to monitor citizens of other countries with complete disregard to jurisdiction and sovereignty of the Republic of Kenya,” a Juba-based security analyst told Sudan Tribune Thursday.