LONDON, England – The Republic of Djibouti claim against Abdourahman Boreh, the former head of the African state’s port authority, today suffered a further setback in the London High Court. Lord Falconer, partner at law firm Gibson Dunn, representing the Republic of Djibouti fought in vain to stop allegations of government and presidential corruption in Djibouti being scrutinized by the English court during the trial.
Out of an initial 16 claims put forward by Djibouti against Mr Boreh, the claimants have now abandoned a total of 11 – seven at the start of the trial in London this month and a further four on 22 October 2015.
Although just five claims are now being pursued, the Republic of Djibouti continues, as part of these claims, to make unfounded allegations against DP World and ENOC. This is in spite of the recent acknowledgment by Mr Justice Flaux that DP World and ENOC have not been given a proper opportunity to respond to such serious charges.
In defending the remaining five claims, Mr Boreh will be asserting that there was widespread presidential and government corruption in Djibouti under President Ismail Omar Guelleh. The court has already heard allegations that the President owns 80 cars and bought a flat in Paris for EUR2.248 million – all on an official salary of about $10,000 a year – and pressurised Mr Boreh to pay for private expenses such as a holiday in Mauritius for EUR 44,955.
These kinds of claims are entirely consistent with the conduct of a President who changed the Djibouti Constitution in 2010 in order to remain in power for a third term. He has built up a culture where anyone wishing to do business in Djibouti has to pay the President or his family or face arbitrary tax demands, assets being seized and wider persecution.
Mr Justice Flaux and the court will later consider presidential corruption allegations specifically linked to the remaining claims. President Guelleh has already refused to attend the London court hearing as a witness to respond to these allegations.
Mr Boreh maintains that the case against him is politically motivated and all allegations against him as well as DP World and ENOC will be shown to be fabricated, as were the terrorism charges brought against him which disintegrated in March 2015 when the London court found that the Republic of Djibouti’s evidence was “evasive and misleading”.