Manila Airport BOT Arbitration

ICSID -- ARB/11/12 and ARB/03/25

The Situation

The Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (PIATCO) was awarded a contract to build a new international terminal at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The contract resulted in international litigation when the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that PIATCO's contracts were null and void ab initio because PIATCO had failed to satisfy the minimum legal requirements to qualify to bid for the project. An arbitration panel was asked to rule whether the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract was invalid because it had been procured in a fraudulent manner.

NERA's Role

NERA was retained by the government of the Philippines to produce expert reports for submission to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court of Arbitration. NERA analyzed the project and showed that the metric used in the contract procurement had been rigged by PIATCO to include money already flowing to the government. NERA’s analysis also revealed that the bidder had turned the airport construction project into two projects-a terminal and a shopping mall-which increased the risk to the government without a corresponding increase in benefit.

The Result

NERA demonstrated conclusively that, regardless of what forensic accounting revealed about the corruption of the actors involved, the contract procurement process itself had clearly been corrupted enough to obviate the intended benefits of a competitive process.