The High Court in Kenya earlier this week finally handed down a decision in a case which has been going on for the past three years.
Jetlink, once Kenya’s most successful private jet airline, now stands wound up, though the judgement was stayed for a week, to determine the issue of costs of the suit.
The woes for the airline started when South Sudan’s Central Bank, in cohorts with the regime, refused to let the airline remit nearly 2.5 million US Dollars worth of ticket sales, forcing the airline into payment default at the time with several suppliers of fuel, services and also lease payments.
It could never be ascertained what if any role the Kenyan government played at the time, assisting Jetlink and a number of other affected Kenyan companies, to get paid and the outbreak of hostilities between the regime and political opponents then put paid to any further attempts to get money out of South Sudan.
With the economy in tatters, the coffers empty and the currency, once worth 2 South Sudan Pounds to the US Dollar but now trading at 60 or worse, there simply is no foreign exchange left at the Central Bank, one of the reasons why government employees, including police and army, have not been paid in months.
Jetlink’s debts, arguably interest included, are now said to be in the 4.5 billion Kenya Shillings region, all triggered by their initial forced default when South Sudan kept their money illegally as it violated international accords between IATA and governments around the world.
A debt for equity swap, at one stage on the table, has also failed to take off and it is now a final good bye for Jetlink, once a regular sight in the skies over Kenya and Eastern Africa.