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The Republic of Djibouti & ors v Abdourahman Boreh & ors

2nd Mar 2016

The Commercial Court has given judgment in The Republic of Djibouti & ors v. Abdourahman Boreh & ors, a major civil fraud case in which wide-ranging allegations of dishonesty were made against a prominent African businessman. The defendants were represented during the 10 week trial by Dominic Kendrick QC, Richard Waller QC, Jocelin Gale and Keir Howie, all of 7KBW, instructed by Yvonne Jefferies of Byrne & Partners.

The judgment handed down on 2 March 2016 dismisses the claims in their entirety. It is a complete vindication of Mr Boreh’s defence of the proceedings, finding in his favour on almost every contested issue in the case. Mr Justice Flaux rejected all of the Claimants’ allegations of bribery and corruption, finding that Mr Boreh was “justly proud” of what he had achieved for his country, and was “not a man who would take bribes to sell his country short”. All of the Claimants’ witnesses were found to have been unreliable; and some, including the President of Djibouti, were found to have given untruthful evidence to the Court.

The judgment also makes heavy criticism of the Republic of Djibouti’s approach to the litigation. The Court regarded the Republic as having pursued “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”. It also found that the proceedings formed part of a politically motivated campaign against Mr Boreh, orchestrated by the Government of Djibouti and by the President personally.

The Court has ordered the Republic of Djibouti to pay £9.3 million on account towards the Defendants’ costs of the proceedings, and to pay costs on the indemnity basis, with further consequential matters to be resolved at a later date. Injunctions obtained by the Claimants in England, the British Virgin Islands and Singapore are also being discharged as a result of the judgment.

The full judgment appears at [2016] EWHC 405 (Comm), please click here to view. It follows an earlier decision discharging a worldwide freezing order against Mr Boreh, after it was demonstrated that the Claimants and their solicitor had deliberately misled the Court: see the judgment at [2015] 3 All ER 577 and the summary at [2015] EWHC 769 (Comm).

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