MODEL AHEU DENG: DEFAMED BUT FOUND INNOCENT
By Gabriel Alier
This is in response to a malicious and libelous article entitled “How Former Model Aheu Deng was involved in Defense Ministry corruption scandal” that recently appeared on the website of “Hot in Juba” on November 3, 2015. It was written and disseminated by John Masura, who has been masquerading as a journalist. The article was replete with lies, falsehoods, disinformation, hearsays, rumours; an antithesis of journalism. Intriguingly, the information herein was factually and materially wrong and there was no scintilla of evidence to back up the outrageous and vicious attacks against Ms. Aheu and company. While corruption is anathema to most of us, I equally abhor people who impugn the character of others based on falsity and such horrible onslaught on the model is unwarranted and unprecedented.
Accordingly, I have been compelled to pinpoint and share some very glaring material facts that have been misrepresented in the light of this article, rooted in Mark Twain’s wise counsel and adage that “a lie can travel around the world while the truth is putting its shoes on.” This statement is relevant in the aftermath of this widely circulated article and this imputation has far-reaching repercussions such as injuring the model’s reputation by exposing her to hatred, contempt or ridicule.
Therefore, I would proceed by illuminating the facts as follows:
First and foremost, contrary to what was published by this self-proclaimed journalist, at no time whatsoever was Ms. Aheu an applicant in the said defense ministry contract, medical supplies, never ever had a pharmaceutical company nor does she envision one in foreseeable future. I could not agree more with the charlatan that the model has no medical background and qualifications to necessitate her to venture into this realm.
Instead, what is demonstrably true is that the model expressed an interest in stationery contract which was duly advertised by the same ministry. Ms. Aheu and Black is Beautiful Co. Ltd was awarded stationery contract whose value was 35,000,000 SSP. after going through the due process pursuant to the defense ministry procurement policies, procedures and guidelines. To be precise, the company was required to supply computers, binding machines, letter heads, photocopier machines, cartridges, pens, jacket folders, envelopes, and Apple desktops. As an owner of the company, she has been performing until the Defense Ministry tentatively stopped the contract pending a review and resolution of internal matters at the ministry of which the model was apprised of and consequently halted the delivery forthwith.
However, at this point, it’s worthy to note that the contract between the parties has not been terminated. The defense is cognizant of the fact that any termination of the contract would amount to breach of contract to which Ms. Aheu and Co. would sue for the damages.
Owing to the suspension of the contract by the Defense ministry, the supplies afore-mentioned are in warehouse in Kampala, Uganda, at this moment. Due to this decision, the model has been inconvenienced and in that regard, she is still incurring holding, insurance costs and other costs associated with this stock.
Despite having performed partially by delivering merchandise to the ministry, she has not received any payment for quantum meruit let alone being paid for a contract in which she had not applied for nor met her obligations. Wherefore, I would like to unequivocally state that no funds were received nor released from the Central Bank as purported. Paradoxically, the model is heavily and indubitably owed by the Defense Ministry and she appreciates that the government is in financial distress and that is why she has not demanded any payment for the services partially rendered.
Furthermore, an investigation carried out by a committee in which she was not supposed to be part of, ideally, reinforced and corroborated her innocence .The model was subpoenaed by the investigation committee to testify and as an abiding and responsible citizen, she appeared before the same. The investigation was led by the Head of Anti-Corruption and the Prosecutor General. Based on her sworn in testimony, it made a conclusive determination that she was not involved in any financial impropriety and the committee gave her okay to continue discharging her obligations under the conditions of the contract after having carefully scrutinized all receipts and relevant documentation.
The model conspicuously checked in at the Juba International Airport. Indeed, if there was articulable suspicion or probable cause, the security apparatus would have pounced on her at the airport prior to boarding the plane for Nairobi. Knowing she was not a fugitive as asserted, she returned to Juba on her own volition without any incident of scuffle or arrest at the airport. Therefore, the allegation that the model eluded the authorities and subsequently fled the country is utterly and completely preposterous.
Normally, whenever there is a corruption allegation in the ministry or any organization, we usually investigate the employees of the ministry including minister, undersecretary, and procurement staff deemed to have been suspected of graft; rarely do we subject bidders to investigation process. Having said that, a proficient journalist would have focused his/her investigative piece on Gen. Bior Ajang and John Laat Zechariah, the director of procurement in the ministry rather than deflecting attention from them and focused on red herring.
Further, Gen. Bior Ajang was appointed as Undersecretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and apparently he was absolved of corruption allegations and accordingly, the model was vindicated and validated by the same investigation since hers was predicated on Gen. Bior Ajang’s case. A case in point is Kenya, the Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Ann Waiguru, has been under immense pressure from the public and politicians to resign because of procurement irregularities in her ministry. Kenyans are not apportioning blame on the bidder but the Secretary who is in charge of the docket.
The journalist professed that the model owns a house in Kileleshwa Estate. This is materially false. What is irrefutable and verifiable is that the model lives at Greenspan, Donholm Estate, in a rented home like any other tenants and those who are familiar with the set up of Nairobi know that Kileleshwa and Donholm are far apart. The question of ownership is the question of law not the pigment of author’s imagination and I wonder why the journalist was able to determine the ownership albeit he had not seen the documentation regarding the house.
Moreover, the journalist did not give the model an opportunity to respond to those allegations and I think this is against the law of natural justice and fairness and I strongly feel that this is an affront to journalistic practices and therefore, a great insult to investigative journalists like Mohammed Ali (jicho Pevu) and John-Allan Namu (both affiliated with KTN) and Drew Griffin of CNN.
To call oneself a businessman or businesswoman, I do not think one needs credentials. However, to call one oneself a journalist one must be rigorously trained and this is clearly lacking from Mr/Ms. Masura and that’s why his work on the piece is abysmal.
This self-professed journalist did not do his due diligence with his sources. The sources that he relied on lack credibility and credulity and there is no way a responsible and trained journalist would have exuded confidence and placed his trust in such deeply flawed sources without fact-checking. Guided by personal vendetta, mediocrity and hatred against the model, the fraudulent writer went ahead and embellished this misleading piece without adhering to journalistic standards, principles, ethics and ethos ;a parody of journalism. Individuals like Masura are the ones who are adulterating and bringing dishonor and disrepute to journalism and no wonder why the government repeatedly and frequently rails at the media in South Sudan, although, I do not approve of censorship, but there is a rationale and cogency in the government’s argument.
The journalist lampooned Gen. Paul Malong Awan and plethora of other men without one iota of evidence. Personally, General. Paul Malong Awan is an hero, a military genius and unparalleled by any not forgetting the bravery of military strategist General Kuol Manyang, the bravery of Jongroor, and my valiant uncle General Ajak Yen and all the ordinary soldiers including youths who took up arms, defended and protected the people of South Sudan from the de facto leader Dr. Riak Machar and his surrogates. His bravery evokes memories of the Italian Gen. Niccolo Machiavelli and the French Gen. Napoleon Bonparte and the great writings of Greek writers, thinkers and philosophers and I think the way he is asserting his authority, purveyors of hatred and anarchy are going to be weaned off the nipple of defections, treachery, betrayal, political chicanery and incendiary.
With a lucid and well-executed mission, he vanquished the apocalyptic enemy with professionalism, valor, commitment and exceptionalism, denying them the tantalizing fantasy and clamor of deposing the government of people by the people and for the people as I fondly invoke Abraham Lincoln’s definition. I hope Gen. Malong and other host of men who have been adversely mentioned in this article are going to commit resources in order to apprehend this person and other accomplices to fully face the full force of the law. This is the time that you need to use your influence for the good of all people who have been blackmailed by this extortionist.
Diametrically opposed to the caricature being portrayed, I submit that the model that I had a privilege of knowing and working with on a project is a young lady of impeccable character. I found the model to be charismatic, bright, gregarious, modest, virtuous, vibrant, principled, humorous, responsible, and respectful, no-nonsense and she wore contagious and infectious smile that radiated on her face. The model draws from a rich family legacy and tradition of hard work, service and patriotism. She has contributed and devoted herself to the causes that are profoundly important to her in particular the veterans and the military since her father died fighting for our freedom, this has influenced her to strive to serve the veterans. The following are some of major highlights of her good deeds:
Ms. Aheu and her Company, Deng & Daughters bought a contract from her friend who awarded a contract in which she could not perform and Aheu took over the contract from her. The value of the contract was 15 million SSP (South Sudanese Pounds). Thereafter, she embarked on delivering 10,000 mattresses fitted with CDCs covers and 10,000 basins to the military hospital in juba which was inundated with wounded soldiers who were rushed in from war zones. The hospital was ill-equipped and doctors and other health personnels had nowhere to carry out medical procedures on patients. She also gave them 1019 mattresses free of charge. After fulfilling the requirements of the contract, Aheu was also awarded Food supplies contract requiring her to procure food supplies to military in both Pariah and Yei at a value of 1.4 Million and 2.8 Million SSP. respectively.
Being conscious of corporate social responsibility and an ardent supporter of the people of Sudan, she donated 10,000 mosquito nets to military hospital. She also donated six bulls and two goats to the veterans at the military hospital during May 16, 2014 celebration. She mobilized and impressed upon our women the importance of serving veterans. As a result, many women turned out in large numbers including one of women’s Member of Parliament. The woman prepared food, served veterans at the end of the function, and posed with veterans who were overwhelmed by her gesture.
Impassionate speeches were delivered with the aim of strengthening, dignifying, recognizing their sacrifices and giving veterans hope. Aheu was extolled, and garnered accolades from veterans and prominent politicians who attended the occasion. She is one of the people who is making tremendous difference in lives of the vulnerable people in South Sudan. She deserves our respect and obviously she has earned it. All these acts of benevolence are found on her Facebook page and it’s amazing what she has accomplished and done to the veterans and we ought to be appreciative rather than disdaining her efforts. All these altruistic actions and behavior are inconsistent with the model who is amassing wealth to enrich herself but she is doing this solely in support of causes that are dear and near to her heart, underscoring the significance and value of sacrifices.
Despite the fact that the writer struggled to find fault with her command of English and poke fun at it and her academic credentials, she was immersed in studies and exhibited an exemplary performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations as a result of being steered and nurtured by her eloquent, well-regarded and revered mother who inculcated in her the value of education and charity.
As pertaining career, through her grit and determination she has been propelled to the world stage accomplishing her dream of becoming a model. After participating in Miss Earth Beauty Pageant in Philippines, she was declared as the World’s Tallest Beauty Queen ranking eighteen out of eighty countries that took part in the competition. In acknowledgement and appreciation of her outstanding performance, she was given a calendar by the host president to present to our president but due to accessibility and bureaucracy, she was unable to deliver the same.
Furthermore, she also participated in Beauty pageant on our soil, South Sudan, she performed with a distinction and won the coveted title Miss Earth South Sudan and was given an opportunity to tour the whole world and market South Sudan which she did not due to lack of support from the government and well-wishers.
This is remarkable, illustrious and she should be seen as an epitome of success and I knew from her budding years that she was destined for greatness. This is a person that should be emulated, applauded and supported rather than being derided at and besmirched. She has brought the honor and pride to the country after having successfully presented the country in numerous beauty contests. She is not different from Lupita Nyong’o, Kenyan actress, who has been winning numerous awards at Hollywood. In fact, Lupita is short but with the support of the govt and the Kenyan people she is on the pinnacle of her career now.
South Sudanese take their heights for granted but the rest of the world admire tall people because it’s unique to them and we should harness this phenomenon that God has specifically endowed us with, it should be exported to the rest of the countries which would earn our country foreign exchange. In that regard, Kenya is utilizing the talents of her people well particularly in athletics and the athletes have contributed enormously to the development, growth and prosperity of Kenya. In the same token, people like Aheu should represent and market South Sudan particularly at this time when the country’s image has been tainted by our parochial politicians.
Accordingly, in consultation with your lawyer, I advise that you seek legal redress by commencing legal proceedings against this reporter and the entire paper. Meanwhile, you should send them a cease and desist letter, and demand retraction or recantation of their misplaced allegations of corruption against you, they should also take down the article from their system wherever it’s circulated. Finally, they should offer you an apology as you continue pursuing both criminal and civil action again the writer and the entire ‘Hot in Juba’ fraternity.