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Djibouti government loses bribery and co

London, March 2, GNA – The High Court in London today dismissed all claims of corruption, bribery and fraud brought by the government of Djibouti against Djiboutian multimillionaire businessman Abdourahman Boreh – a crushing defeat for President Ismail Omar Guelleh who is contesting a fourth controversial term in the presidential election in April.

Mr Justice Julian Flaux, in his judgement of over 260 pages, noted: “I have concluded that all the claims made by the claimants against Mr. Boreh and his company fail.”

At the start of the trial in the High Court on October 8, the Djiboutian government had 16 claims but these were reduced to three as the case progressed.

Mr Justice Flaux was not impressed by this. He said in his judgement: “…I cannot recollect a case in which so many claims (let alone ones involving allegations of dishonesty) have been pursued with such vigour and then abandoned at trial.

“No proper explanation has been advanced as to why they were pursued and then abandoned.

“I am left with the distinct impression that the Republic was intent on pursuing a scattergun approach against Mr Boreh of throwing as much mud as it could in the hope that something would stick, even though many of the matters were not ones in respect of which the Republic could have had a legitimate or sustainable claim.”

All along Mr Boreh had argued that the claims against him and an earlier false conviction of treason in 2009 were all part of a politically motivated campaign levelled at him by President Guelleh.

Mr Justice Flaux agreed: “This cynical approach to litigation is indicative of the political motivation which Mr Boreh contends lies behind this litigation.”

The government of Djibouti’s claims against Mr Boreh are related to the redevelopment in 2000 of the rundown and outdated facilities at country’s main port.

The cash-strapped government turned to Mr Boreh, who was a close friend of President Guelleh, to find investors to help raise the port’s standards in order to take advantage of lucrative financial opportunities that became available after Eritrea closed its facilities to landlocked Ethiopia following a bitter armed conflict between both countries.

Mr Boreh, using his own money and bringing in investors from Dubai, oversaw the construction of a new oil storage facility known as the Horizon Terminal, and a new state-of-the-art container terminal on wasteland.

His construction firm, Soprim, was hugely involved in the building project.

Mr Boreh brought in the experienced Dubai Port World (DPW) to manage the facilities, thus transforming the financial fortunes of Djibouti.

But the government claimed that Mr Boreh wrongfully acquired shares in the projects and was bribed by DPW to give the management contract to the Dubai-based port management company, all of which Mr Boreh denied.

On the issue of the Horizon shares, Justice Flaux noted: “I am entirely satisfied that Mr Boreh did not obtain the shareholding…because of any improper basis.

“He obtained it entirely properly for commercial reasons.”
He pointed out that President Guelleh was clearly aware of Mr Boreh’s shareholding at the time and he never objected to this.

Indeed, as a result of the sterling work that Mr Boreh had done, the president appointed him as Chairman of the newly created Port and Free Zones Authority – a position that he held without pay.

Mr Justice Flaux said the container terminal that Mr Boreh was involved in had turned out to be “a great success, both commercially and financially, for the Republic”.

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DP World Will Defend Djibouti Position After U.K. Court Ruling

DP_World_new

DP World said a U.K. court ruling that criticized Djibouti’s government and rejected charges against an opponent of the country’s president may help the company in arbitration proceedings brought by the Horn of Africa state.

The U.K. High Court in London ruled on Wednesday that Djibouti businessman Abdourahman Boreh didn’t take bribes or negotiate secret shareholdings over the construction and development of a port and freezone complex at Doraleh in the Horn of Africa nation. Djibouti’s government in 2014 rescinded DP World’s concession and began arbitration proceedings after it said it found evidence the Dubai-based company paid bribes and gave other financial incentives to Boreh while he was negotiating the concession.

“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,” the company said in a statement on its website. “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.”

Djibouti’s $1.5 billion economy relies on services related to its location on the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The country serves as the only access to the sea for neighboring landlocked Ethiopia. DP World is one of the largest port operators with 70 terminals stretching from Sydney to Vancouver.

Government ‘Disappointed’
Djibouti’s government is “extremely disappointed” with Wednesday’s judgment and disagrees with its findings, according to an e-mailed statement.

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

Boreh spearheaded the development of the Doraleh port with DP World. Djibouti’s government accused him of a string of corruption claims, alleging he improperly benefited from the negotiations. Boreh claimed the allegations were a politically motivated smear campaign orchestrated by President Ismail Omar Guelleh to destroy his reputation.

Judge Julian Flaux criticized the country’s conduct in the litigation, dismissing all the claims against Boreh. Guelleh, 68, declined to testify in the trial, serving witness statements to the court that were “inadequate and simply fail to grapple with some of the most difficult issues in the case,” Flaux said.

Fearful Witnesses
All of the witnesses called by the government during the trial were former government ministers or high-ranking civil servants who were “in fear of the president” and weren’t prepared to say anything that contradicted Guelleh, Flaux said in his ruling.

Boreh faced a campaign of political persecution after he declined to back Guelleh’s proposal in 2007 to amend the constitution and enable himself to seek a third term in office in elections in 2011, Flaux said. Guelleh will seek a fourth mandate in elections scheduled for April 8 after pledging in 2011 not to run again.

“If I could win against him as one individual, the people of Djibouti should also use the verdict to get rid of Guelleh in the elections next month,” Boreh said by phone from London. The Dubai-based businessman said he’s considering returning to Djibouti “within the next couple of years.”
Source: Bloomberg

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IGAD /ICPALD organized GULF food fair mission for the private sector involved in livestock and meat export

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in partnership with FAO, with financial support from Italian Development Cooperation is implementing the regional project; Improving supply of safe and quality livestock and meat exported from the Horn of Africa to Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. The project has provisions  to support private and public sectors from IGAD member states to participate on the Gulf food fair (GFF) which happened from 21st to 25th February, 2016. Meat exporters and Ministry of trade government officials /external trade unit/participated.  The latter were supported for sustainability of coordination of promoting  the private sectors (livestock & non-livestock commodities) like Ethiopian Ministry of trade is doing  participated in the fair. The delegation was led by Dr. Solomon Munyua, Ag. Director and coordinated by Dr. Ameha Sebsibe, Head, Livestock and Fisheries.

The highlights observed and recommendations:

Companies from Australia, Newzealand, Brazil, USA, Ireland, India and other major exporting countries always search for customer requirements through speaking with suppliers worldwide to receive market information and upto the minute prices to ensure that their businesses are at the forefront in terms of price and other information. Companies produce their products based on customer requirements. They provide their suppliers on a continuous basis with market information specific to their business. The real time information gathering helps the companies to anticipate trends before they actually happen such as increasing/declining demand and prices to undertake mitigation measures where necessary.

Major meat exporting governments support formation of authorities or associations such as APEDA (Agricultural products Export Development Authority) -India, ApexBrasil- Brasil, MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia)- Australia, etc to support aggressive export marketing of their countries’ agricultural produce. The authorities or associations stimulate companies to work with innovation, design and sustainability so as to improve competitiveness on international markets, undertake innovative trade promotions in line with each sector, support trade mission to explore new markets  and promote private sector participation in international trade fairs among others.

IGAD/ICPALD also facilitated the participants to participate on the  Dubai chamber of commerce breakfast meeting. It was made clear that meat is the leading commodity being imported into Dubai currently. This is projected to increase looking at the projected population growth rate of 3% annually. The exporters got opportunity to interact with chamber members and share their promotional materials. Therefore, aggressive marketing strategy by IGAD member states and improved quality and hygiene processing standards will increase their share in the market. In addition, member states need to focus on proper breed selection and improved breeding technologies such as finishing the animals for quality products to enhance competitiveness and tap into the market. Additionally, IGAD MS should develop e-trade portal with the help of ICPALD. The portal should be uploaded with upto date market intelligence information and focus on more export market penetration and diversification.

Traders from IGAD MS had opportunities of visiting various pavilions, go-downs and met business magnets from around the globe for business scale-up and future linkages. They learned the need of promoting market intelligence and aggressive marketing strategies to expand  existing markets in addition to diversification. IGAD member states  need to utilize well the trade counselors and agents of companies  t stationed in the importing countries to ensure that their products are well promoted and linked with the markets. To this effect; IGAD/ICPALD is also organizing training for trading counselors of IGAD member states based in MENA

IGAD-ICPALD expresses appreciation to Italian Development Cooperation for financing this event.

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