Olembé Stadium: Italian Construction Company files claim 0

The building of the ill-fated Olembé Stadium is the source of a new investment arbitration claim.

Italian construction company Piccini Group has made a claim against the government of Cameroon in a dispute that appears to relate to the troubled construction of the Olembé football stadium in Yaoundé.

The stadium was built between 2018 and 2021 for the hosting of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, when it was the site of a tragic crowd crush which killed eight people.

Perugia-headquartered Piccini was the construction contractor until 2020, when the government withdrew the project from the Italian company and handed it to Canadian company Magil. Earlier this year, Magil warned of non-payment by the Ministry of Sport and Physical Education and threatened withdrawal and legal action if the matter persisted, while reiterating its hope that it could complete the second stage of the project – involving the construction of facilities surrounding the stadium.

The case was filed on 8 June at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the World Bank’s investor-state dispute settlement body, under the auspices of the 1999 Italy-Cameroon bilateral investment treaty, against the Cameroonian President Paul Biya, Prime Minister Joseph Ngute, the minister of state and ministers for external relations, justice, sports and public projects.

The Italian company has enlisted Withers to represent it. The London-headquartered law firm declined to comment, while Piccini has not responded to an enquiry, but media reports from Cameroon suggest the dispute relates to the stadium and the ICSID filing refers to a “construction project”.

The Cameroonian government has also been contacted for comment. In 2021, Piccini was reported to have taken Cameroon to the ICC International Court of Arbitration, although the status of that case is currently unclear.

Source: African Law and Business