Jarch Management Land Deal in Mayom County, South Sudan

Description

In January 2009, Jarch Management, owned by American Phil Heilberg, acquired a 70% interest in LEAC, a company controlled by Gabriel Paulino Matip Nhial, the son of the deputy commander-in-chief of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Paulino Matip. Paulino Matip joined the advisory board of Jarch Management as vice-chairman in 2007, followed by his son in December 2009. In October 2010, another South Sudan warlord, General Gabriel Tanginye, also joined the advisory board shortly after officially joining the SPLA, giving Jarch influence in multiple layers of government. In acquiring LEAC, Jarch gained control of a lease for 30-40 years covering 400,000 ha of farmland, with options to acquire more. Shortly after the initial deal, Heilberg announced Jarch had gained control over 1 million acres of undeveloped land in South Sudan – but none of the agreements were made through the new government. The local county commissioner, when interviewed by NPA, had never heard of Jarch or the land deal. The land deals are all through Gabiel Matip, an ethnic Nuer, and are disputed by the SPLM, mostly ethnic Dinka. There is a history of ethnic dispute between the groups, and this land deal isn't expected to smooth relations. New legislation in 2009 was designed to clarify the ownership of large land deals such as this one, and as the national government heard of the deal through media reports – not official communication – Sudan's Land Commission agreed to look into the deal. No reports were found after 2009, and Jarch Management Group's website merely states '…Jarch is commencing its agribusiness activities in Southern Sudan'. South Sudan is Africa's newest nation, granted independence on July 9th, 2011. Jarch Management planned their presence, and even expressed support for the new nation, for his company's capital gain. In a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone Heilburg says 'I saw the Soviet Union split up. Saw it up close. I realized there was a lot of money to be made in breakups, and I vowed that the next time I'd be on the inside.' In 2007 Jarch Capital said it would form a foundation for the people of South Sudan. An internet search uncovered nothing related to this foundation. It also continually promises 10% return investments, but no evidence of activities or return on investments were found.

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Basic Data
NameJarch Management Land Deal in Mayom County, South Sudan
CountrySouth Sudan
ProvinceUnity State
SiteMayom county
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesFruits and Vegetables
Corn/Maize
Land
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 800,000 confirmed ha covers more than 80% of Mayom county. According to Norwegian Peoples Aid 121,715 people live in Mayom county, and any land deal of this size will severely impact the local residents - even if measures are taken to limit resettlement.

Project Area (in hectares)800,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population121,720
Start Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesJarch Management Group LTD
Jarch Capital LLC
LEAC for Agriculture and Investment Co Ltd from South Sudan
Relevant government actorsSouthern Sudanese Government Members on the Board of Jarch Management Group: Joseph Wejang (Minister of Health of the Government of Southern Sudan at time of appointment – 2/08, appointed to position of governor of Unity State 5/08 ), Paulino Matip Nhial, Paulino Matip, General Gabriel Tanginye
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNorwegian Peoples Aid, http://www.npaid.org/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The project is entirely unclear - plans may or may not continue due to the independence of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011.
Sources and Materials
References

Norwegian People's Aid, 2011, 'The new Frontier'

(language)/eng-GB
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Links

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, 'Betting on the Farm'
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(02Jul11) The secret sale of a country.pdf
[click to view]

, 'South Sudan: The Scramble for Land'
[click to view]

[click to view]

Middle East Online, 'US eyes future oil deals in southern Sudan'
[click to view]

Sudan Tribune, 'Jarch Oil Company Exhorts South Sudan to Proclaim Independence'
[click to view]

[click to view]

Jarch Capital, 'Lines of Business: Agriculture'

farmlandgrab,org, 'The Secret Sale of a Country'

Media Links

Al Jazeera's The Witness, 2013, 'Our Man in Sudan'
[click to view]

Other CommentsJarch Capital has been involved in South Sudan since early 2003. The company and Paulino Matip Nhial (former chief of staff of the South Sudan Defense Force) signed two separate agreements (on March 1st and March 7th, 2004) for an area in Jonglei known as 'Block B' for oil and gas explorations. In 2006 Jarch was 'reviewing all legal avenues' to sue SPLM for upwards of US$ 10 billion as it claimed SPLM had given other companies rights over the same land their agreements covered.

Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article15284

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ContributorAliza Tuttle
Last update24/06/2014
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