* Government says Accor did not fulfil its contract
* Accor seeks arbitration in Paris ICC court-documents
* Africa's $24 bln market a key region for hoteliers
(Adds bullets, details of case before ICC, comment)
By Emma Farge and John Zodzi
DAKAR/LOME, July 13 Togo has ordered Europe's
largest hotel group, Accor, to quit the country
immediately or face more than 500,000,000 CFA francs ($1.05
million) in daily fines, according to the hotel group and court
The order is the culmination of months of legal wrangling
between over the renewal of Accor's rental agreement for its
beachside Sarakawa hotel in Lome, the Togolese capital.
"The decision took effect immediately and therefore Accor
has no other choice to stop operations at the hotel," the
company said in a statement on Sunday, referring to an eviction
order given on July 11.
Togo's government said it was compelled to order Accor's
expulsion "for neglecting its contractual obligations", a
statement said, without elaborating on the obligations.
A Reuters reporter at the site said there was no sign of
tourists and policemen were guarding the main entrances. The
government said it plans a tender to find a new operator for the
"This is a very bad sign for foreign investors, given that
Lome has clearly violated the OHADA law," said Jean-Georges
Betto, a partner in the Paris law firm Betto Seraglini who is
acting for Accor, referring to a legal treaty governing business
law in West Africa.
Accor filed an arbitration request at the Paris-based
International Chamber of Commerce court in May against the Togo
government, seeking 10 million euros, after the government gave
notice that its lease would not be renewed, confidential
The documents indicate that the decision not to renew the
15-year lease was sparked by government dissatisfaction over
investment in the facility. Accor says it spent on average 5.5
billion CFA francs a year and was preparing plans to invest in a
new Ibis hotel on the site, the documents showed.
Sub-Saharan Africa, once a niche market for hoteliers, is
becoming an increasingly important region for large hotel groups
like Marriott International, which are seeking a bigger
stake in the $24 billion market.
The economy of former French colony Togo, which has
resources of phosphate, iron and magnesium, is due to grow by 6
percent this year, providing potential opportunities for
The tribunal document also showed the government had
originally sought 1 billion CFA in daily fines for
non-compliance with the eviction order.
($1 = 477.75 CFA)
(Reporting by Emma Farge and John Zodzi; Editing by Larry King)