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Dubai wins legal battle over Djibouti port

|By Arabian Post Staff| Dubai won a huge moral victory when DP World, one of its prestigious companies, yesterday secured a favourable verdict in an English court in an ongoing legal battle with the Djibouti government over the concession to run a container terminal in the African country.

The government of the East African country had launched arbitration proceedings in a London court as it alleged that the DP World had secured the concession through unfair means, including payment of bribe.

The Djibouti government alleged that Dubai-based businessman Abdourahman Boreh, who is the former chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority between 2003 and 2008, had misused his government position to procure significant personal gains. Boreh had received half a million dollars a year from DP World, in the form of consultancy fees, which according to the Djibouti government was a bribe.

The English court judge, however, ruled that none of the payments was a bribe or corrupt payment. Neither the payments made to Boreh or his companies by DP World, nor the finder’s fee constituted a bribe or a promise of a bribe to negotiate or agree soft terms in the DCT agreements, the judge added.

Furthermore, none of those matters alleged by the claimants establishes that these were corrupt payments for Boreh’s personal gain which harmed the interests of the Republic, the ruling asserted.

DP World hailed the judgment and said it has invested significantly in Djibouti over the past 14 years and is proud of the major contribution it has made. “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”.

Officially opened at the start of 2009, 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. Just 11 km south of Djibouti, and with direct road links to Ethiopia, DCT, or DP World Doraleh, enjoys a strategic location at the crossroads of the main shipping lanes connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. The port lies on the major east-west trade route and provides a secure hub within the region for transshipment and relay activities.