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General News of Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Source: GNA

Courts reject Shell's application

Accra, Feb. 13, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court on Wednesday struck out an application filed by Shell Ghana Limited (SGL) asking the court to give directions on how the Petroleum Dealers (plaintiffs) should compensate SGL after loosing the substantive case. The court said the one month period given to the Dealers to execute the undertaking to SGL had not expired and therefore the SGL had no grounds to demand those directions. The court, presided over by Mr Justice K. A. Acquaye adjourned the case to February. 22, this year. Mr Sebastian K. Amoah, Counsel for the Petroleum Dealers prayed the court to reject the application since it was without merit. He also said the application had not been properly filed before the court and as such should not be entertained.

He further argued that the Defence could only make that application if the plaintiffs fail to execute the undertakings within the stipulated one month, adding that the plaintiffs had not defaulted in doing so. Mr Daniel Amartefio, Counsel for SGL in his submission said it was the duty of the court to ensure that there was speedy trial of the case and that the Defence could also file for directions from the court. The facts were that a group of petroleum dealers in Accra and Kumasi had filed an interlocutory injunction at the High Court to restrain SGL or their agents from terminating the dealership agreement they had with the Company, pending the determination of a suit before the court. The court ordered that the dealers should file an undertaking in two weeks to compensate SGL in case they lost the substantive case. The last contract between SGL and the dealers expired in December, 2005 and since then there had not been any new agreement.

The dealers argued that the nature and requirements of Shell's business compelled them to rely on loans from their bankers to enable them to execute the dealership agreement for the benefit of Shell, and they could not repay those loans to their respective banks if reasonable notice of termination of the dealership agreement was not given. That they had entered into agreements with their creditors and if the agreements were to be terminated without incurring liabilities such as the payment of damages, reasonable notice was required by them for the termination of their dealerships.

The dealers are Godfred Motey Addo, Esther Mullings, Rebecca Tagoe, Thompson Obimpeh, Osei Bonsu, Ambruce Kumassah, Benjamin Boateng and De-Kuza Akueteh. The rest are Titus Owens-Dey, George Russel Teye, Lucy Osafo Agyekum, Emmanuel Inkoom and Samuel Aidoo, all from Accra. The others from Kumasi are Robert Osei Bonsu, Richard Puni, Emmanuel Kwasi Donkor and Justice Acheampong.

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