Sao Tome and Principe: Government justifies annulment of duty free contract by “repeated” violation of agreement

26 August 2008

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 26 Aug – The Sao Tome government’s decision to annul the duty free area contract for Sao Tome airport was the result of its “repeated” violation by concession-holder Sociedade de Desenvolvimento de São Tomé (SDST), the country’s prime minister said in Sao Tome Sunday.

Rafael Branco said that the process of annulling the contract signed just over a year ago with SDST, which is a privately-owned Portuguese company, is being carried out at the Ministry of Justice and may be concluded this week.

“There were repeated violations of the contractual obligations, there was a clearly demonstrated lack of capacity to invest in development of the area and the country cannot continue to live with contracts and agreements that clearly do not contribute to our development,” said the prime minister.

Approached by Portuguese news agency Lusa on the sidelines of a meeting on foreign policy promoted by the Sao Tome Foreign Affairs Ministry, Branco declined to give details on the aspects of the contract which were not fulfilled.

A source from the Duty Free Authority (AZF) said that the reason for disagreement was due to a lack of apyment of a deposit of half a million euros, an amount that was supposed to have been deposited in AZF’s account last October.

An international public tender may be launched over the next few days to select a more credible company for the duty free area, and the prime minister said, “We will be very careful and selective in the choice of our next partner.” (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH