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Court grants injunction against IFC, OPEC Fund

  • SOURCE: The Finder | Editor
  • THE Commercial Division of the Accra High Court has restrained the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and OPEC Fund for International Development, from instituting actions in other jurisdictions in respect of agreements between them and Quantum Oil Terminals.

    The court did this when it upheld an interlocutory injunction that was brought against International Finance Corporation (IFC) and OPEC Fund by Quantum Oils Terminals.
    The court, presided over by Justice Samuel K.A Asiedu said having read the affidavits and exhibits as well as the statement of cases filed by the parties it found, that in the share charge agreement and the debentures, the parties agreed that the courts of Ghana would have jurisdiction to settle any disputes or proceedings which may arise in connection with the agreement; and that any judgment or order of a Ghanaian court of competent jurisdiction in connection with the agreement would be conclusive and binding on the parties.

    Lawyer for IFC and OPEC Fund earlier argued that the jurisdiction given or agreed upon in the agreements was not exclusive and that they reserve the right to institute actions in other forums.
    However, the court said even though that may well be so, “but to the extent that the parties have also contracted that the agreement shall be governed and construed in the accordance with the laws of Ghana, the court is of the opinion that no court in any jurisdiction was better placed to construe and apply the laws of the Republic of Ghana than a Ghanaian court of competent jurisdiction.”

    The court further gave the two entities nine days within which they are to open their defence on the numerous issues Quantum Oil has raised.
    An arbitral tribunal in London is expected to make a ruling next month on whether IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is justified to have abrogated the contracts it signed with the indigenous firm which is into distribution of energy and petroleum products.

    The application by Quantum Oil Terminals was seeking an order of the court for interlocutory injunction to restrain the defendants from pursuing any claim or relief in any jurisdiction against the applicant and parties joined to the suit in any dispute arising from any agreement in which the parties have chosen Ghanaian law as the governing law.
    Lawyer for Quantum Oil Terminals, Alex Osei Owusu who argued their case in court last Wednesday, said after the high court in Ghana ruled and allowed the subsidiaries of the plaintiff to join the suit in December 2017, the defendant – IFC and OFID once again went to London to apply for a second ex-parte anti-suit injunction against the them in a London High Court

    According to him that was an abuse of the court processes and calculated to set the London High Court orders against the prior orders of the Accra High Court.

    Background of the case
    The indigenous Ghanaian company, Quantum Oil is demanding $41,319,123 in total damages from the two international bodies for allegedly failing to provide it with a $16-million loan facility which was agreed among the three entities.
    The said loan was to be used by Quantum to construct a petroleum storage facility in Tema in 2012 to help it meet a National Petroleum Authority (NPA) regulation that required bulk oil distribution companies to construct their own storage facilities.

    Before then, Quantum was storing its products in facilities at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company Limited, which served notice to Quantum that it could not continue to store its products there from 2014, in line with the NPA directive.

    According to Quantum, the amount includes fees and charges paid directly paid to IFC and OPEC Fund, fees and charges paid to various consultants at the direction of IFC and OPEC Fund and statutory fees paid by plaintiff to create charges for the benefit of IFC and OPEC Fund.
    Quantum Oil said rather than assisting it to develop and grow its business, IFC and OPEC Fund rather worsened and reduced Quantum Oil’s business fortunes and prospects and in the process rendered Quantum Oil poorer than before.
    According to Quantum Oil, unless otherwise compelled to do so by orders of the court, IFC and OPEC Fund will simply not take responsibility for the colossal damages they have willfully caused to Quantum Oil.

    Reliefs
    Quantum Limited is, therefore, asking the High Court to order the IFC and the OPEC Fund to disburse the loan, taking into consideration inflation rates within the period
    It also wants general damages totaling $41,319,123 to compensate it for the escalation in the cost of the project, fees and charges that it paid directly to the two bodies, various consultancy fees, lost business revenue, among other demands.

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