Taipei Loses Appeal against France Matra in Contract Dispute

Published November 25th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Taipei's city government has lost an appeal against a 1.4-billion-Taiwan dollars (42.6 million US) compensation claim by France's Matra Transport, it was reported Saturday. 

The Supreme Court ruled that Taipei's Department of Mass Transit System (DORTS) would have to pay Matra for construction delays to the Mucha Line -- the first line of the capital's mass transit system, the China Times said. 

The compensation includes some 370 million dollars worth of accumulated interest since Matra took the case to the court in 1993. 

Upon hearing the verdict, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said the city government would seek an "extraordinary appeal." 

"We will consider pursuing an extraordinary appeal if possible, but that will have to wait until after we receive the verdict and a consultation with our lawyers," he said. 

Legal experts said the chances of overturning the ruling were slim. 

Matra, the electrical contractor for the Mucha Line, filed a two billion lawsuit against the DORTS with an arbitration panel in April 1993 on grounds that the delay had increased the firm's labor and management expenses.  

Six months later, the government-financed Commercial Arbitration Association ruled in favor of Matra saying the DORTS must pay 1.03 billion dollars in compensation. 

The decision was upheld by the High Court last year. 

Construction of the controversial Mucha line, costing some 629 million US dollars, began in 1989. A series of accidents during tests, including fires, carriages derailing and rubber tires bursting, seriously delayed its launch, originally scheduled for 1993. 

The 10.5-kilometer (6.5 miles) Mucha Line began operations in March 1996, with about two-thirds of the system above ground and the rest underground -- TAIPEI (AFP)  




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