UK court rules in favour of DP World in Djibouti port corruption case

A court in London has dismissed all charges against Dubai-based businessman Abdourahman Boreh in a multimillion dollar claim brought against him by the government of Djibouti, related to his dealings with ports operator DP World.

The claim, brought by the government of the East African country in 2012, accused Mr Boreh of corruption during his time as head of the country’s port and free zone authority, during which time DP World was awarded a concession to run the country’s Doraleh Container Terminal.

Djibouti rescinded the DP World concession in July 2014 after Dubai refused to extradite Mr Boreh, and began arbitration proceedings against the company after claiming evidence that it paid bribes to Mr Boreh during concession negotiations.

The suit against Mr Boreh was dismissed in its entirety in a judgment handed down by Justice Flaux, who ordered Djibouti to pay £9.3 million on account towards the defendants’ costs of the proceedings in addition to further costs.

“We are … pleased that the English courts have rejected the allegations made against Mr Boreh, and indirectly against DP World,” the ports operator said in a statement on Wednesday.

The ports operator said that it hoped that the rejection of the charges against Mr Boreh would help the company defend its position in an arbitration dispute with the government of Djibouti on the same issue.

“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.

“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.”

The government of Djibouti said that it was “extremely disappointed” with the judgment, and is “exploring urgently with its lawyers the best course of action to take, including the possibility of an appeal.”

The judgement in the corruption case comes nearly a year after Justice Flaux dismissed terrorism charges brought by Djibouti against Mr Boreh.

“I wish to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to Justice Flaux for taking the time to examine this case in such meticulous detail and to produce his judgment with such speed,” Mr Boreh said in a statement.

“I am also very pleased that the judge has found that DP World … did not do anything wrong but have instead been instrumental in the huge success of the port and free zone of Djibouti.”

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