UK court rejects Djibouti bribery allegations

posted by Andrew Allen
in Law
11 March 2016

The UK High Court has rejected “capricious” accusations against a millionaire Djibouti businessman that the contract to renovate the country’s high capacity Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) by DP World had been subject to bribery.

Mr Justice Flaux at London’s High Court cleared Abdourahman Boreh of three charges of bribery and fraud and said none of the payments made to his company by DP World constituted a bribe.

He said the Djiboutian government and its president Ismail Omar Guelleh had launched a politically motivated campaign against Boreh.

Within four years of the DCT becoming operational in December 2008, the original payments to Boreh by DP World had been repaid.

The 1.6 million TEU capacity Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT), built and operated by DP World, is the most technologically advanced container terminal on the African east coast. Lying 11 km south of Djibouti it has direct road links to Ethiopia.

Between 2003 and 2008 Boreh was the president of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority and was considered the driving force behind the project.

The Djibouti government claimed he improperly profited from his position in numerous ways – which Boreh denied.

As well as rejecting the bribery accusations Justice Flaux dismissed complaints Boreh had been paid excessive fees for managing the renovation and said the container terminal had been a great success for Djibouti.

“At the time no-one on behalf of the Republic suggested that the fee agreed was excessive or unreasonable,” he said.

“In my judgment the management fee agreed was not some excessive fee agreed because of bribery and corruption of Mr Boreh, but a fair fee reflecting the skill and experience of DP World.”

In a statement DP World said: "We have invested significantly in Djibouti over the past 14 years and are proud of the major contribution we have made. We are therefore pleased that the English courts have rejected the allegations made against Mr Boreh, and indirectly against DP World. We remain disappointed that the [Djibouti] government commenced these proceedings and its arbitration against DP World, which is based on essentially the same charges the court has now rejected."

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