Since the Government of Sierra Leone has consistently ignored several warnings from lawyers acting on behalf of Slone Telecom Limited, the company has now decided to initiate arbitration proceedings against NATCOM at the International Court of Arbitration in London.
NATCOM now has less than thirty days to defend their action in unilaterally cancelling a legally binding contract with Slone Telecom or judgment in default will be delivered in favor of Slone Telecom Limited.
The deliberate failure by the Government of Sierra Leone to enter into serious and sustained negotiations with Slone Telecom Limited may lead to severe consequences for the poor tax payers of Sierra Leone.
On 29th March, 2016 the Secretariat of the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, France informed the Government of Sierra Leone that it had received a “Request for Arbitration” in a contract dispute between Slone Telecom Limited and NATCOM (National Telecommunications Commission).
The arbitration proceedings have commenced in London. Up until press time last night, the Government of Sierra Leone was not represented at the arbitral tribunal in London.
Article 6 (8) of the International Court of Arbitration statute states clearly that, “If any of the parties refuses or fails to take part in the arbitration or any stage thereof, the arbitration will proceed notwithstanding such refusal or failure”.
Even though Slone Telecom Limited is pursuing this matter, both in Sierra Leone and in the United Kingdom, their Solicitors in Dublin, Republic of Ireland still want this matter to be amicably resolved.
In a letter to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Kamara dated 10th March, 2016 Lawyers for Slone Telecom stated clearly that, “Our client is still open to meet with NATCOM (and its stakeholders and advisors) in London in the next short period to discuss these matters and to seek a resolution. However, regardless of any such meeting there will be no postponement or interruption of either the Injunction proceedings in Sierra Leone or the Arbitration proceedings in London, both of which will continue to be prosecuted unabated and without delay until a resolution satisfactory to our client is arrived at”.
Many people are wondering why the Government of Sierra Leone has foolishly allowed this matter to go to the International Court of Arbitration in London.
Lawyers for Slone Telecom Limited have repeatedly indicated their willingness to have this matter amicably resolved, through negotiations.
For the past three months, the Government of Sierra Leone has consistently ignored several warnings from Slone Telecom Limited to avoid a protracted and costly legal action both in Freetown and in London.
Slone Telecom Limited decided to go to the International Court of Arbitration in London after NATCOM unilaterally cancelled a legally binding contract with the company for the Monitoring of the International Gateway System without following due process of the law.
The Government of Sierra Leone has chosen to waste poor tax payers’ money by foolishly indulging in such senseless legal battle which could have been easily avoided by a mere negotiation with the company.