Cairo: The Arab Investment Dispute Settlement Court, established by the League of Arab States, heard a petition for appeal brought by a Saudi investor against the Tunisian government Wednesday.
The case was first brought to the Court’s attention in 2004 and claimed that the Tunisian government was in breach of a contract signed July 16, 1999, giving Tanmiah for Consultancy, Management & Marketing – a Saudi investment group – approval to invest in the radio, TV, information and advertising rights of the Mediterranean Games held in Tunis in 2001.
Problems arose late in August of the same year, when Tanmiah discovered that the Tunisian government had signed a similar contract with Tunisia Airlines and terminated the Saudi contract.
The two sides have been trying to reach a resolution with the intercession of diplomats including Ahmed Al-Salim, deputy minister at the Saudi Interior Ministry, Secretary General of the Arab Ministers of Interior Council, Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia and Tunisian diplomats.
This was the first case for the court since its founding in Amman in 1984. In October 2004, the court ruled in favour of the Tunisian government.
The legal team representing the Saudi investor appealed the 2004 decision but the court on Wednesday decided to defer final judgment until March 28.
“We went through different channels, but we never came to a solution, Adel Al-Maddah, president of Tanmiah for Consultancy, Management and Marketing, told The Daily Star Egypt.
“I am requesting $79 millions as compensation from the Tunisian government. I hope the matter will be solved by the fair judges of the court.
Abdul Rahman Al Saad, Tanmiah’s lawyer, claimed the Tunisian government unilaterally terminated the contract thereby violating chapter 14 of the document and chapter 273 of the Tunisian code of commitments and contracts.
But the Tunisian government says it had to terminate the contract because the Saudi investor failed to pay the required deferment payments specified in the contract.
“It seems that the Saudi side has forgotten that the contract is about a sports competition of all Mediterranean countries and that Tunisia carries the total responsibility of the success of this important competition, Abdulmajid Alturki, the Tunisian Lawyer, said.
“I want to say that Tunisia will not wait for its Saudi master to fulfil his duties. He is a Saudi investor who didn’t even pay one dollar to the Tunisian government, he added.
He added the court has already decided on that issue in October 2004 with a termination judgement, which doesn’t acknowledge any more appeals or petitions.
“How can the Saudi side propose another petition to the court requesting the reconsideration of the termination judgement, which is in the Tunisian favour? Aren’t the Saudi’s respecting the court’s decision? said Alturki.
Mohamed El Hag Al Tayeb, secretary general of the organizing committee of the Tunis 2001 Games, said no investment took place eventually because the Saudi investor didn’t shell out the required payments.
“Investment means actual payment in a certain project. Although the contract stated that the Saudi investor must pay 15 percent of the total amount as a deposit, he didn’t pay anything, said Al Tayeb.
Judges and consultants of the Arab investor court declined commenting on the subject.
The Arab Leagues Social and Economic Council first enacted the Arab Investment Court on Aug 29, 1984.
The idea of establishing the court came as a temporary solution until the creation of an Arab Court of Justice.
The main objective of the six-judge court is to settle investment disputes between Arab countries and investors.