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#507470 - 09/15/15 05:03 AM GOB Settles With Ashcroft Alliance over BTL  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Six years ago - in August of 2009, government took over BTL - and since then it's been sustained and costly warfare with the Ashcroft Alliance. Well, the big news today is that the Barrow Administration has settled with the former owners of BTL, which are all Ashcroft Allied companies. It is the product of direct negotiation between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Michael Ashcroft which was built around meetings the two held in May and August - followed up in each case by a string of emails negotiating the finer points.

The settlement was signed on Friday September 11th, and news of it comes two weeks after the settlement with Fortis for BEL was settled two weeks ago.

At a press conference today, the Prime Minister expressed relief and rather less triumphalism than when he took it over 6 years ago:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"That the government of Belize has settled the BTL issue. We have reached an agreement with the former shareholders of BTL. I have been aware every live long day that this is a matter that has been with us for 6 long years. We are absolutely satisfied that what we did was right and we consider what's happening now as vindication."

That vindication comes at a steep price for BTL. The phone company will have to pay the British Caribbean Bank for a mortgage debenture, which was already in default when government took the company over. It was 22.5 million US dollars then - and government had resisted paying the debt because they maintained that it was illegally undertaken. But they lost that case resoundingly at arbitration, and six years of default later, the debt to Ashcroft's bank has more than doubled because of interest. The Prime Minister catalogued the history and the bottom line today:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The arbitration panel found that we had to in fact pay the BCB loan, not just in the principal amount, but together with the interest under the loan and costs. That interest within the loan terms provided for a12% annual rate. But in the event of default, it became 16% and since we hadn't paid, that was deemed by the arbitrators to have constituted default. So the 16% interest ran. And we thought, well, if they come to enforce their award in Belize, then we will have another bite at the cherry in terms of our argument that the loan was illegal. Of course, that would have meant that the interest at 16% per annum would continue to run and if we were again unsuccessful, before the local courts as we were before the tribunal, within after the 3-4 years it would have taken for challenged to run their course, you can imagine where the sum would have been."

"It is now 48 million US. In order to settle this matter, to have the former shareholders acknowledge once and for all that BTL is now and forever more the property of the government and people of Belize. We will pay the award that the tribunal issued in the BCB matter. Others words, we will not any longer seek to skip and jump and dodge and run and postponed the inevitable for another day while interest continues to run. So we will pay that 48 million US dollars and settle the BCB award. So that 48 million dollars will not be paid by us ultimately. It will be paid by us in the first instance as a sort of bridge, but it is the liability of BTL and BTL will then have to repay the government of Belize."

Nestor Vasquez, Chairman - BTL B.O.D.
"We see no problems whatsoever in meeting a debt like the one that we have undertaken right now."

And so while BTL will take the nearly 100 million Belize dollar debt on the corporate chin - what is the overall bottom line on the cost of this settlement? The Prime Minister ran down the figures:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"We are paying the 97 million 4 hundred thousand dollars, which is where the award of the tribunal with respect to the original 22.5 million dollars US loan to BTL stands and we are paying with respect to the compensation for the acquisition of shares, 65 million 300 thousand Belize dollars. Altogether, a total of 162 million, 700 thousand Belize dollars."

Of course, that's just a partial compensation because Government must also await the determination of an arbitration tribunal, which will determine a final award for the value of the shares, and the value of the accommodation agreement - if they agree that it was valid. Right now the compensation government is paying for the shares is only one dollar and 44 cents per share - which is called the NERA value. But the Ashcroft Allied Companies are claiming as much as ten dollars per share - and the arbitration panel will come up with a figure somewhere between those extremes.

So, the final bill could add up to tens of millions of US dollars more - depending on the outcome of the arbitration. Though these things tend to always go in the favour of the Ashcroft Alliance, the Prime Minister was slightly optimistic:

Jules Vasquez
"But it is 162.7 and counting right, because the arbitration still has to be settled."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Yes sir. But remember there is a chance that the arbitration will be settle at this figure. You might not give too much for that chance or for those chances, but the chance exists doesn't it?"

Jules Vasquez
"We've never won arbitration, because the people who run the arbitration have a similar background to Mr. Ashcroft."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Well I won't get into all that. But clearly we concede that there is a possibility that the arbitration panel will make an award that is greater than what we are paying now which is the NERA value."

Jules Vasquez
"If the government had simply tried a more orderly takeover, perhaps might it not have been significantly cheaper than all this is working out to be, because the government chose a confrontational acquisitive approach?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"No sir. Absolutely not. I don't know what orderly takeover you contemplate. But that..."

Jules Vasquez
"Mr. Ashcroft said he wanted to sell."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I don't recollect that sir and if history was anything to go by, the last government tried, I don't know if you would called it an orderly approach, but an approach that certainly was not confrontational, that saw us taken to the cleaners."

Nestor Vasquez, Chairman - BTL B.O.D.
"It had to be done. Because what existed was an unregulated monopoly. That is important. The Prime Minister actually said this in parliament when he was introducing the bill. Another important point is that he even prove that the control of the ownership of SMART was in the hands of the same person that was in control of BTL. That made it a monopoly. But with the accommodation agreement in place, that had more authority in certain instances that the public utilities commission - that was the regulator. It's important to know that it had to be done. It was in the interest of the country and people of Belize to do that."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I think the justification speaks for itself and the vindication speaks for itself. Because there can be no doubt apart from the question of sovereignty and nationalism and patrimony, both BEL and BTL have performed splendidly under the stewardship of a board of directors appointed by the government of Belize and consumers have benefitted. The Belizean public has benefitted from the ownership of those two utilities by the government and people of this country."

And - as we mentioned - that arbitration panel could also make an award for the accommodation agreement - again, worth tens of millions of dollars more. The Prime Minister said however that there is a special charitable element to that payment if it is awarded:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"If the value that it awards does include an element for the accommodation agreement, I've negotiated so that that portion will be separated out and will be described as the restricted amount. Apart from the restricted amount, I will pay to the previous owners of BTL, the previous shareholders what the tribunal orders and I will pay that in US dollars. The restricted amount will be paid in Belize dollars and will have to be spent in Belize on charitable projects for the good, welfare and wellbeing and the people of this country. Such projects to be identified to the trust that gets the restricted amount by the government of Belize. I'll tell that we feel fairly confident that the tribunal will not make any award for the accommodation agreement. The arguments that our counsel put up in front of the tribunal are compelling. They certainly convinced me, but that's not too hard to do in those circumstances. But however confident, we are litigation risks and so that's why I made the provision in the what we think, unlikely event that the valuation given handed down by the tribunal does include an accommodation award element."

And back to the compensation for the shares. As we told you, right now government is paying 65 million dollars, or one dollar and 44 cents per share. But, the arbitration panel could go much higher. Here's how government would handle the difference:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"In the event there is that extra, we will pay half of it within 10 or so business days after the award is made and the other half a year later. So there will be terms with respect to half of that award."

All this goes to the House of Representatives tomorrow - with a bill for an act to provide compensation to the former shareholders, and the telecommunications acquisition settlement act 2015. We'll have full coverage of the house meeting in tomorrow night's newscast.

Channel 7

How Much has G.O.B. had to Pay in Legal Fees?

Dean Barrow

Government gets to pay some one hundred and sixty two million dollars but how much has it spent on legal fees? There has always been speculation on that figure and at this afternoon’s press conference at the Biltmore Plaza, where cabinet also met prior to the announcement, the PM turned to the Financial Secretary, for a response.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“That was one of the bones of contention.  We settle with no orders as to cost.  Each side bears its own costs. This was such a hugely complex and fundamentally important issue that it required the government to retain the best possible legal representation that it could get and to retain law firms that could concentrate on these issues without the distraction of the tremendous amount of work that the SolGen’s department has to cope with. So you don’t go up against people like Goldsmith and Edward Fitzgerald…you don’t just rely on your public officers, however dedicated they are, you do get the best from the private bar and that’s certainly one decision that we will never regret.”

Joseph Waight

Rowland Parks

“How much have we paid in legal fees?  I keep hearing estimates and so on but we need perhaps to get a precise number from you.”

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“There are so many litigations involved, but going back over this six years, I would say we’ve paid close to three to four million dollars in all.  But there are so many litigations.  Remember too we have to engage foreign firms which are not cheap.  But it’s not over four million dollars.”

The firm of Barrow and Williams represented government in the settlement of the B.T.L. nationalization.

Channel 5

BTL Settlement, Did Lord Ashcroft Get The Better of GOB?

Is the deal to settle the BTL takeover with the Ashcroft Alliance a good one? Well, the agreement was signed Friday, it was made public yesterday and it went to the House of Representatives for debate today. Not surprisingly, the PUP says it's a bad deal because it's costly and open ended. Opposition leader Francis Fonseca spoke about the 97 million dollars BTL will have to pay to Ashcroft's British Caribbean Bank to settle what was originally a 45 million dollar debt:

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"This 97 million, let be clear. The original loan was 22.5 million US, which is 45 million Belize dollars. With interest of 16% over 6 years. That has now amounted to 97 million Belize dollars. It gone from 45 million dollars to 97 million Belize dollars, all because of one man's stubborn pettiness. And now the Belizean people must pay 52 million dollars for that stubborn pettiness. We are being asked to approve a settlement and compromise which is still not very clear. We don't know what the full terms and cost of it will be Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister made mention of some figures earlier in his introduction I believe when he talked about specific share values and he suggested that perhaps we may end up somewhere with a five - eight five share value. If you use even the 5 dollar number, what you are looking at, at the very least is an additional 230 million dollars. That is what this blank cheque is all about and it may very well turned out to be more than that."

"When you look at BTL, the government took away the company and as I said bestowed, anointed is son leader and what have they done? Really literally run the company into the ground. Even with government, remember subsidizing BTL by reducing business taxes from 24.5% to 19%. They did that. Even with the removal of interest payments from the expenses of BTL. The profits have shrunk. I think they've gone down from 30 plus million to last time 17 million."

Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Fort George
"We are being asked to approved not only 162 million dollars, but also for whatever the arbitration on the compensation issue comes up with in addition to this 162 million dollars and according again to the Prime Minister even if the arbitral award were to strike a balance, a middle road, so to speak, of $5 a share instead of the $1.44 a share which he is agreeing to pay under the NERA valuation. That would mean and the people of Belize need to hear and know this, that we are being asked to approved what may turned out to be a 400 million dollars compensation to Michael Ashcroft or to BTL or to whoever are the owners or were the previous owners of BTL - that is actually said "as God is my witness, I will not pay that award." As God is my witness, the UDP government will not pay that award. Well Mr. Speaker, not only was that a blasphemous outburst from the Prime Minister, but it looks like God is no longer his witness. Look like the devil is the witness now, because he is agreeing to pay not only that award, but with interest amounting to 48.5 million US dollars. Not only did the Prime Minister say he was not going to pay the award as God was his witness, but also he criticized me severely for what he called terrible acts of the PUP government when I was prime minister. As if though that would intimidate me from speaking today. Mr. Prime Minister, you cannot intimidate me. I want you to know that and you can accused me of all kinds of things, but you cannot accused me of corruption of benefitting. You cannot, because I did not benefit from any of those matters, unlike what is happening now that you and your family are benefitting from this whole deal."

Hon. Patrick Faber, Collet
"How could that man, the architect of corruption, the man who has lead this country into the dungeons Mr. Speaker, have the audacity to say that nobody can accused him of corruption?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Mr. Speaker, I am certain that his initials SM - that the M in those initials SM doesn't stand for Musa, is stands for masochist. Which is a word used to describe somebody who enjoys feeling pain. Who enjoys inflicting punishment of himself on himself, because in speaking in this debate, that is exactly what he did. People can have a clear understanding of the entire picture and how much those on the other side in particular the member for Fort George and the Leader of the Opposition are responsible for in terms of the way they absolutely wreck this country, the way they plumed, the way they pillage, the way they had no regard for the interest of the country, no regard for democracy how they did everything in secret. They as I said are the last ones to talk and none of those two ought ever to have open his mouth in terms of intervening in this BTL settlement deal debate."

With that the debate was finished and the House approved the settlement deal and both pieces of legislation arising from it. It goes to the Senate tomorrow.

Channel 7

#507527 - 09/17/15 05:09 AM Re: GOB Settles With Ashcroft Alliance over BTL [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,612
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Senate Sour over Supplementary

The National Assembly Building in Belmopan was crackling again today when the Senate met to consider the BTL Settlement deal that government has hammered out with the Ashcroft Alliance.

But first they had to talk about the General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation – that’s to authorize government to get the 162.7 million needed to pay the first part of the settlement. The second part is blank – because the figure for that won’t be known until an arbitration panel decides what it should be. That blank part really raised the blood pressure of the Senator for Business, Mark Lizarraga. Here’s what he said:

Hon. Mark Lizarraga - Business Senator

"This blank cheque that we agree to give government today; that we will agree to pay the Ashcroft Alliance has, we don't believe ever been attempted in our history. This indecent proposal before us today Mr. President has gone way too far and is now clearly the full blown cancer the CCJ talks about."

Hon. Godwin Hulse - Leader of Government Business

"The bill clearly says the sum of money appearing in the schedule here to are hereby declared to be payable for the financial year ending on 31st day of March 2016 for and in respect of the services mentioned. The sums of money in the schedule; the sums of money in the schedule is 162.700 hundred thousand. The part two he is referring to is simply placed there because that sum is not known; it's not seeking approval for an unknown sum. It's seeking approval for the sums of money appearing in the schedule."

Hon. Mark Lizarraga - Business Senator

"If it were government's intention to present to us two supplementary, it should have done so."

Hon. Godwin Hulse - Leader of Government Business

"Second amount is not known as we'll see. When that amount is known it will be presented. It's the sums of money presented in the schedule we're talking about!"

Hon. Mark Lizarraga - Business Senator

"Mr. President, no where, no where do the laws allow for blank cheques of undeclared sums to be issued; no where! This supplementary Mr. President; we believe is in contravention of the constitution and as such we do not support it."

Hon. Lisa Shoman - PUP Senator

"I wish that the Leader of Government Business try a slight of hand with words. I wish he wouldn't play with words to make it sound as though nobody no the get this money until the end of March 2016; because that is not the fact. So let's have no more nonsense about how this schedule is in two parts and number two does not apply now. That's garbage. We are being asked; Mr. President this is more than an indecent proposal. This is nothing less than a naked usurpation by the executive of this country of the job, responsibility or parliament, of the legislature and it is arrogating onto itself the power; which is forbidden to it by the separation of powers and the rule of law arrogating this on to itself by asking us to pass this nakedly unconstitutional and illegal supplementary bill."

"What is the indecent haste to pass this appropriation bill for a blank cheque? I repeat, it is a naked usurpation by an overweening executive with a paucity of cheque and balances that facedly on its own; without regard to parliament went and signed a settlement on the 11th of September, already agreeing to what we are being asked to approve in this chamber and what has been approved in the house; and that was done by his own confession by one man, the prime minister himself. It is his baby, he has nursed it, he has burst it and he will responsible for foisting this chucky on a Belizean public."

"There is absolutely no reason ladies and gentlemen of the senate, Mr. President; why we should be asked to approve a blank cheque in this matter if the amount that will be paid will be known by the 20th of September."

Hon. Anthony Sylvester - PUP senator

"What this appropriation bill seeks to do, it seeks to give the government the authority to spend money in secrecy without the people knowing the full extent of what this settlement entails."

Hon. Godwin Hulse - Leader of Government Business

"The total, the total capital 3 part 3 is 162.700 hundred thousand dollars; which is the sum being asked to be appropriated."

Hon. Lisa Shoman - PUP Senator

"Don't tell us about any paper because the paper says the exact same thing that the bills says, to be determined an award by PCA, let's have no disingenuous about this."

Hon. Godwin Hulse - Leader of Government Business

"The sums of money appearing in the schedule here to or hereby declared to be payable for the financial year. The sums of money appearing are 162.700 hundred thousand and as you know; and all of us know in here the financial secretary takes charge of all appropriations and those are the sums he authorized to pay, I move the questions."

Business Senator Says No Settlement At All

And that skirmish over language was only the start of a much bigger war over the actual terms of the deal – contained in the deed of settlement and compromise. and how it was negotiated by the Prime Minister and Michael Ashcroft. Again, the business senator had a whole lot to say about that – in fact, he said, it signals the end of democracy:..

Hon. Mark Lizarraga - Business Senator

"We seem to have before us today a settlement bill that in fact doesn't settle very much at all. What has now proven to be ill-advised and heartiness driven protracted arbitration proceedings have led to what was once a 45 million dollar loan, now being settled at 76 million dollars. This decision to litigate, rather than negotiate; as was advised by the business community then, has cost us today 113% in interest alone. An unnecessary 51 million dollars Belize, wasted."

"Now if I know for 6 years that I owe this money; and in the last 2 or 3 years I have had at my disposal 1% and 2% of it; why did we not attempt to take some of the famous Petro dollars to try and pay off this loan make we never had to pay 51 million dollars in interest."

"Why was the prime minister the only one negotiating; as he reviled himself. Why was he the only one negotiation with the Ashcroft Alliance? The pm should have at least for appearances sake; or some token compliance to the constitution brought government officials along with himself, or advisors or attorneys."

"How can the prime minister on his own negotiations bind a country to make 162 million dollars in payment, In addition to potentially hundreds of millions more without the prior knowledge and consent of anyone else. Not his cabinet, not parliament; the total arrogation by one man of both executive and legislative power, this no longer a democracy.

In effect what the prime minister is doing is coming to government and saying you will approve this deed because I have already signed it and I have already committed."

Hon. Lisa Shoman - PUP Senator

"So he just did it on his own. He did it on his own. Mr. President the question then is; is in fact this deed a valid and binding deed of the government of Belize or is it the act of one man without the requisite executive authority to do what he has done."

Hon. Godwin Hulse - Leader of Government Business

"The significant difference today is that whether you agree or do not agree with whatever is being presented is that you cannot argue with the fact that is it transparent, open; that is why you can stand here and debate it, that is why the nation hear it, that is why the media is there. And you can call it arrogant, stupid but every last detail has been presented; and we have gotten in this situation because 10 years ago no detail was presented. Absolutely to no one, I'm not sure whether to the cabinet."

"That is why when this government came to office and discovered this really objectionable bill; this vile, dirty, low down, unconscionable bill, they had to acquire BTL to stop this. And if another government comes to this office they will not find a bill like this because it has been ventilated today in the house and in the senate and for the whole world to see; whether you agree or not, that is the fundamental difference."

"I will say simply this, I will say simply this; that it's not perhaps or maybe it is. I too, I too am troubled about the element of uncertainty; I think everybody would be; I heard the business senator talking about it and I hope it comes in our favour. But I am satisfied of two things, we finally coming to a conclusion of this thing but I am more satisfied Mr. President of one thing that sticks out; regardless of who shouts, regardless of who clap, regardless of who criticize, regardless of who condemn, it has all been put in the face of the public."

Hulse was referring to a pair of secret settlement deeds involving BTL and signed by the then Prime Minister Said Musa on the 19th of September, 2005.

Channel 7

#508293 - 10/16/15 05:00 AM Re: GOB Settles With Ashcroft Alliance over BTL [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,612
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

CCJ’s Says A Big No To Bar Association

This morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice held a hearing via teleconference with the Government of Belize, the Ashcroft Alliance and Fortis International. They had convened to discuss the widely publicized settlements that the Barrow Administration had arrived at with the former owners over the nationalizations of BEL and BTL.

But, they had to grant an audience to Senior Counsel Magali Marin-Young, who was representing the Bar Association of Belize. As has been widely reported, two weeks ago, the members of the Bar, by majority vote, passed a resolution to apply to the CCJ. They wanted to urge the Court to still give a decision on the legality of the 8th Amendment to the constitution, despite the settlement that has been hammered out.

The sitting justices, including President Justice Dennis Byron, granted Marin-Young an audience and she tried to convince them to deny a stay of the Appeal Case. That would have been the first step in getting the Court to deliver a judgment despite the settlement, but, the CCJ decided that they could not entertain this application. Therefore, it was dismissed.

It was probably for the first time that the Ashcroft Alliance took the same side as the Barrow administration in court. So, right after the hearing, we asked both sides to discuss the outcome. Here's what they had to say:

Denys Barrow, SC - Attorney For the Government
"It's not something I say very easily or readily, but the bar really was misguided. They allowed themselves to be led by a political motivation in making this application. Had they thought about it properly, had they distance themselves from the politics which drove them, they would not have made this application. You saw what took place. The court gave them an opportunity to persuade the court why we should not refused your application. Gave them very short shrift, then even called upon any of the other lawyers to say anything - just said you have basically wasted your time."

Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney
"The difficulty with the Bar Association's application, aside from it being solely as the court rightly pointed out, the difficulty with it is that this is an appeal between the government and the respective parties and those parties have settled their differences. Now the Bar wants to come into the court and in fact the application was to opposed the granting of the stay that the court ordered and its rather difficult to comprehend where the two parties have settle their differences for a third party to come in and say I want you to stop that and not grant them a stay. The Bar also wanted the court to hand down decision on the public law issues. By that they mean the amendments to section 2, section 69 and the addition of power 13 of the constitution. Once the parties has settle their differences, that became academic. The difficulty why we had to opposed it was that if the court were to hand down a decision even though it is academic, it would be on the record and people would jump on it and use it to say oh the settlement can be undermined because the court has said this and the court had said that and so the finality that we had hoped for and the finality that we achieve would not have been achieved and the prejudice to the settlement was likely and therefore for those reasons we certainly had to opposed it."

"I think every Belizean, everybody in the commonwealth would want the court to make a decision and for us to hear what the result of the arguments were. But the courts are not universities. They don't sit around writing judgements and using their time and resources in order to educate and teach people. They settle live disputes and once the parties settle this, there was no live dispute between us and therefore the court had nothing to do. It became academic. It is not a good use of the court's time and resources to write a judgement after the parties have settled."

This evening, the Bar Association released a statement saying, quote,

The Association categorically denies all allegations that the application to intervene was made for political reasons. The purpose of the application was to seek permission to ask the Court to still deliver its decision on the Belize Constitution (Eighth) Amendment Act.

So, after that application was tabled and refused, the CCJ then moved on to the real business of the day. The litigants were applying to the court to enforce the consent order which spelled out the terms of the settlement between the Government and the former owners of BTL and BEL. We asked both sides to explain the importance of formalizing the settlement:

Denys Barrow, SC - Attorney For the Government
"The substantive motions what we came here for, what this hearing was all about, was to have the consent orders entered into. As you know there has been a full settlement by the government and the appellants and the object of today's hearing was to have some orders which were agreed upon between the government and the appellants confirmed and made as orders of the court."

Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney
"We applied to the court for what was called a Tomlin order, which is to stay the appeals so that the party settlement can take effect. The appeal remains before the court, but the parties are implementing the settlement agreements which have all been made public and they only remain before the court in the event that there is a term that is not complied with we can go back to the court and ask the court to enforce that term. Our expectation is that as the government as complied with virtually all the terms of the agreements that the few that are remaining they will comply with them and therefore there will be no need for us to come back to the court."

Since 2009, the Ashcroft Alliance has emerged as the Government's toughest legal opponent suing them in courts all over the world. It has been a marathon legal battle for both sides. So, we wondered, with this settlement, is it over? Here's what both sides had to say:

Denys Barrow, SC - Attorney For the Government
"There are some other matters outstanding. There was decision in the Supreme Court I think in January or February of this year to enforce an arbitration award. That is still outstanding and I think there might be one or two other things arising out of settlement deeds etc. not related to the nationalization which remained for determination or for hearing on appeal."

Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney
"There are a few outstanding cases matters that need to be resolved immediately. The UHS arbitration comes to mind. So there are a few matters that remained outstanding. But by and large I would say 90% of the litigation should be at an end."

The CCJ commended all the parties for arriving at this settlement.

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