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Thu 3 Mar 2016 01:44 PM

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Djibouti government mulls appeal over port corruption case

UK Commercial Court this week cleared Dubai businessman of accepting bribes from DP World

Djibouti government mulls appeal over port corruption case

A UK court has dismissed all charges against a Dubai-based businessman in a corruption case brought by the government of Djibouti in east Africa.

The government had alleged that Abdourahman Boreh took bribes and negotiated secret shareholdings during the development of a new port and free zone in Djibouti, operated by DP World.

The Djiboutian government had rescinded DP World’s concession at the Doraleh Container Terminal while it brought legal action against Boreh.

However, the Commercial Court in London ruled on Wednesday that Boreh did not take bribes or accept other financial incentives from DP World.

Justice Flaux dismissed the claim in its entirety and ordered the Djiboutian government to pay $13 million towards the defendant’s legal costs, it was reported.

In a statement, DP World pledged to defend its position in light of the ruling.

It 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 government commenced these proceedings and its arbitration against DP World, which is based on essentially the same charges the court has now rejected.

“We look forward to continuing to contribute to Djibouti’s economy and its community, and building on our successful and proud record in this region.

“We will now move forward in earnest to defend our position but we hope that is not necessary as a result of today's judgment.”

DP World highlighted particular segments of the judge’s decision, claiming he said: “(Paragraph 934) – None of the payments and agreements of which the claimants complain was a bribe or corrupt payment or a promise of a bribe or corrupt payment for the reasons given at [691] to [793] above.”

“Furthermore, none of those matters alleged by the claimants establishes that these were corrupt payments for Mr Boreh’s personal gain which harmed the interests of the Republic [of Djibouti].”

The Republic of Djibouti said in a statement: “On 2 March 2016, Mr Justice Flaux, presiding in the High Court of Justice in London, handed down a judgment in the case Republic of Djibouti v Mr Abdourahman Boreh, et al. In this judgment, the court decided in favour of the defendants.

“The Republic of Djibouti is extremely disappointed with the result of the trial and disagrees with the findings made by the court.

“The Republic of Djibouti is exploring urgently with its lawyers the best course of action to take, including the possibility of an appeal.”