Law360 covered Steptoe's win for Konoike in an article titled "Japanese Co. Gets OK Of $61M Award Against Tanzania." The article discusses a March 7 decision by US District Judge Richard Leon that confirmed Konoike's $61 million arbitration award stemming from a Tanzanian road construction contract.
Several Tanzanian agencies failed to convince the judge that there was a meritous defense to enforcement of the arbitral award. The judge explained that "the defense Tanzania has raised — a contention that confirmation of Konoike's arbitral award would be contrary to the public policy of the United States because the award has been satisfied by setting of Konoike's tax liability to Tanzania — does not as a matter of law, justify defying Konoike's petition for confirmation." Konoike contends that the tax issue does not amount to satisfaction of the award in any event.
The underlying dispute dates to 2003, when Konoike agreed to design and construct upgrades for 79 miles of road between what is now the Tanzanian capital, Dodoma, and the nearby city of Manyoni. The project was originally slated for completion in 2006, but a series of issues reportedly arose, causing delays. The company then launched arbitration proceedings before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The ICC held that the respondents breached their agreement with Konoike by hiring another contractor, and awarded the company damages, interest and costs and required the company to cover any additional tax assessments or related interest or fines.
Steptoe was then engaged to handle the enforcement of the arbitral award and took the matter to DC federal court.
Steptoe partners Steve Davidson, Michael Baratz, and Jared Butcher represent Konoike.
The full article can be read at Law360 (subscription required).