It was only a period of time. After being kicked out of the construction site of the Olembé Sports Complex that it designed and began to build, the Italian company Piccini, which has seen its reputation dragged in the mud, wants to resort to arbitration from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, France.
It was this company, Gruppo Piccini, that was the successful bidder for the first contract for the construction of the Olembé sports complex in Yaoundé. But on November 29, 2019, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, the Minister of Sports, on the order of the Minister of State Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic (Sg/PR), Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, had terminated this contract.
Negotiations between the two parties never came to fruition and at the end of 2021, the company's lawyers opened proceedings subject to the outcome of the aforementioned negotiations. According to Jeune Afrique, the file was entrusted to the Minister of External Relations (Minrex), Lejeune Mbella Mbella.
Citing sources close to the case, the pan-African reveals that over the past two years, the president of Gruppo Piccini, Makonnen Asmaron, has asked many acquaintances to try to convince Yaoundé to find an amicable solution rather than go through the judicial box. In particular, he is said to have contacted former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé and, above all, Alpha Condé, when the latter was still President of Guinea, so that they could plead his case with the Head of State, Paul Biya, and help him tip the balance in his favour.
According to Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, Piccini's contract had been terminated following a dispute with the State concerning 28 billion FCFA "of alleged additional work. A claim that could not legally be remedied, due to lack of evidence and in violation of public procurement rules which provide that such claims are to be examined after the performance of the contract".
The dispute in question is related to the 28 billion FCFA that was used, according to Piccini, to build the prefabricated buildings of the Olembé stadium from Italy and their transport by boat to Douala and then their transport to Yaoundé. The Government of Cameroon has never agreed to reimburse these additional costs to the Italian service provider.
Parallel to the proceedings against the State of Cameroon, Piccini is suing Magil, his replacement on the site of the Olembé sports complex, whom he accuses of having fraudulently recovered the construction contract. The Italian company accuses its competitor of having unlawfully obtained confidential information about it from one of its former employees, the Frenchman Benoît Fabre, in this case. Piccini claims from its competitor more than 44 million euros in pecuniary and material damages, plus 5 five million euros in moral damages, or more than 32 billion FCFA.
For the record, the contract for the construction of the Olembé stadium by Piccini initially amounted to 163 billion FCFA.