South Sudan to appeal US$1 billion Vivacell ruling

07 March 2023

The South Sudanese government has decided to appeal the judgment from the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in a case between it and Vivacell, whose activities it has suspended.

In March 2018 the South Sudanese government suspended the activities of Vivacell for non-compliance with national regulations. The executive demanded tax arrears of US$60 million, as well as the renewal of its license in accordance with the texts in force in the country.

Vivacell had acquired its license in 2007 from the Civil Authority of New Sudan, before the independence of South Sudan. The licence, valid for ten years, exempted Vivacell from all taxes.

After the failure of negotiations between the two parties, the Al Fattouch group, parent company of Vivacell, took the government to the International Court of Arbitration and demanded US$3.5 billion in compensation. The court ordered the South Sudanese government to pay US$1 billion.

The case will be re-examined by a Swiss court, as the South Sudanese government believes that the International Court of Arbitration does not have jurisdiction to do so.

“We are an entity, we are a country with its laws and therefore our law should apply in this particular case,” said Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Services.