ICANN has on Monday 24 2014 signed a registry agreement with the ZA Central Registry NPC trading as Registry.Africa to operates the .africa top-level domain. The agreement comes even as DotConnectAfrica is going through ICANN’s own Independent IRP process.
The IRP which is a proceeding provided for in Article IV, Section 3 of the ICANN Bylaws, by which any person materially affected by a decision or action of the ICANN Board may request that the action be reviewed by an independent third party for consistency with the ICANN Bylaws and/or Articles of Incorporation.
The contract signing may appear as a breach of its own fairness and level play field. By this contract with ZACR, ICANN gives no due regard to the jeopardy that the applicant DotConnectAfrica goes through. The battle for DotAfrica has reached its epic now, with ICANN actively involved in denying DCA a level playing field. DotConnectAfrica filed an Independent Review Process complaint against ICANN in January 2014, stating ICANN’s unapproving of its bid, was “unfair, discriminatory, and lacked appropriate due diligence and care” as well as “anti-competitive”.
DotConnectAfrica have also raised conflict of interest issues with two members of the ICANN Board which would have affected the decisions.
It is not clear how ICANN now intends to handle the IRP process seeing that the contract has already been handed over, demonstrating that the side of ICANN that may have no regard of its own processes.
DotConnectAfrica has a chance and could actually win its IRP case and seek redress to its entire claims.