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The Statesman Online: Dealers file interlocutory injunction against Shell

Gilbert Boyefio
17/01/2008
 
A group of petroleum dealers in Accra and Kumasi have filed an interlocutory injunction at the Fast Track High Court restraining oil giant, Shell Ghana Limited or their agents from going ahead with its intention to terminate the dealership agreement they have with the company, pending the determination of a suit before the court.

According to them the unilateral action by Shell will seriously undermine their business.

The dealers are seeking among other things a declaration that they are entitled to reasonable notices for the termination of the agreement and that the action of the company is unreasonably short, unconscionable, unfair and unlawful.

They claimed that the purported termination of their dealership agreements effective from December 31, 2007, is null and void because it is against natural justice.

According to the dealers they have worked with Shell, variously for periods, ranging between 1 and 30 years as dealers.

The dealers stated that by a letter dated October 8, 2007, addressed to them individually, Shell indicated that it would not renew the 2005 agreement when it expires on December 31, 2007.

They said Shell requested them to apply to be considered for engagement under a new operator platform from January 2008 but for reasons stated in a reply they caused to be written on their behalf to Shell, they could not reapply.

The dealers are Godfred Motey Addo, Esther Mullings, Rebecca Tagoe, Thompson Obimpeh, Osei Bonsu, Ambruce Kumassah, Benjamin Boateng and De-Kuza Akueteh, all of Accra. The rest are Titus Owens-Dey, George Russel Teye, Lucy Osafo Agyekum, Emmanuel Inkoom and Samuel Aidoo, all also from Accra.

The others from Kumasi are Robert Osei Bonsu, Richard Puni, emmanuel Kwasi Donkor and Justice Acheampong.

They argued that the nature and requirements of Shell’s business compelled them to rely on loans from their bankers to enable them execute the dealership agreement for the benefit of Shell, and they cannot repay these loans to their respective banks if reasonable notice of termination of the dealership agreement is not given.

The dealers further argued that they have entered into agreements with their creditors and if the said agreements are to be terminated without incurring liabilities such as the payment of damages, reasonable notice is required by them for the termination of their dealerships.

The dealers held that the several workers employed by them cannot be conveniently laid off without incurring huge liabilities within the short notice given by Shell. They maintained that heavy losses will be incurred by them from their inability to dispose of the non-Shell products within this short notice period.

According to them, they installed generators at their respective stations at their expense during the energy crisis in 2007, and also partially or completely closed down for several weeks to enable Shell install their equipment for dispensing V-power petroleum products. The financial losses arising cannot be reasonably recovered within the short notice period, they argue.

They prayed the court that they will suffer a great deal of inconvenience and hardship if the application for injunction is not granted having regard to the huge losses they will incur as well as the unpleasant effects that they will suffer as a result of going out of business at short notice.

The noted that Shell on the other hand will not suffer any hardship or inconvenience if the application is granted. “They will rather continue to gain from our services which have kept them in a lucrative business all these years,” they added.

http://www.thestatesmanonline.com/pages/news_detail.php?newsid=5581&section=1

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