April 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The district court of Khartoum on Tuesday has reversed the ruling of an arbitration tribunal in the Sudan Cotton Company (SCC) corruption case and accused arbitrators of corruption and misconduct.
- Building of the Supreme Court in Khartoum (photo Elaph)
Several officials at the state-owned SCC were accused of involvement in this case in which millions of US dollars were believed to have been embezzled.
Midcot, a company doing business with the SCC and owned by the same officials, won an arbitration decision against the SCC but Sudan’s minister of justice, Mohamed Bushara Dousa, took the case to the parliament last week saying the SCC did not agree to arbitration and as such would contest its ruling.
The arbitration tribunal was chaired by the then Constitutional Court Chief Justice, Abdalla Ahmed Abdalla, who resigned from his post following the ruling besides the former justice minister, Abdel-Basset Sabdarat and the former prosecutor general, Abdel-Dai’m Zumrawi, as representatives of the parties to the dispute.
The participation of several high profile figures and particuarly Abdalla raised eyebrows and heightened speculation of undue influence by some government circles.
Sabdarat, who represented Midcot, had earlier affirmed in press statements that it would be impossible to reverse the decision of the arbitration tribunal.
However, Khartoum’s district court on Tuesday approved the request made by the justice ministry to overturn the arbitration decision.
The court said the ruling was based on article 41 of the 2005 Arbitration Act, underscoring that it was substantiated by reasons relating to arbitrators’ misconduct and corruption and violation of public order as well as a serious neglect of a basic item of the arbitration proceedings.
It further stated that the nature of the dispute was not decided whether criminal or civil which is to be determined by a court of law.
Misbah Abdallah, a representative of Midcot described the ruling as fair and said that there is a possibility for holding a new arbitration.