Malaysia says its concerned over Sudan’s ‘expropriation’ of embassy complex

Malaysia on Wednesday called on Sudan to “honor” the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Treaty in force between the two countries amid tensions over a building complex allegedly taken over by the Khartoum government.

Expressing concern over the issue pertaining to the Petronas Sudan Complex (PSC) in Khartoum, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry urged the transitional government in Sudan “to observe the sanctity of a diplomatic premise” under the Vienna Convention as the complex also houses Malaysian Embassy.

Back in December, according to the Malaysian authorities, the transition government made an “unlawful expropriation of the PSC”.

Before filing for a dispute settlement through the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute, the PSC, which is working for 20 years in Sudan, had early this year twice notified the Sundanese government which was mulling to utilize the PSC complex for its use.

The Sudanese authorities are reportedly probing foreign investors for alleged corruption and inflated bills.

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said it “exerted multiple diplomatic efforts to address the issue”, including summoning the Sudanese charge d’affaires twice “to convey our concern.”

“We will continue to closely monitor developments on the issue in safeguarding Malaysian interests in Sudan,” said the ministry, adding Malaysia is hopeful “for a timely and amicable resolution of the issue, with the view of preserving the longstanding brotherly relations between Malaysia and Sudan.”

Sudanese Supreme Court last month also had issued an arrest warrant against PSC’s Country Manager, Azhan Ali, who was President of Petrodar Operating Company (PDOC) from 2013 to 2016.

The PDOC is an oil consortium firm that was accused by the transitional government of violating the country’s Labor Act regulation while denying its employees’ overtime compensation, amounting to approximately $5.5 million during the previous administration.

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