Leonoil MD signs undertaking…to save company from troubleMarch 30, 2021
By Abu Bakarr Kargbo
“I IBRAHIM COLE Managing Director Leoneoil Company Limited do hereby undertake that Leonoil Company Limited will satisfy and Judgment of the Court against Leonoil Company Limited,” an Undertaking dated 18th March 2021 and signed by the Managing Director of Leonoil Company Limited stated. The Undertaking was signed to revoke interim injunction slammed against the Company Limited effective Friday 12th March 2021, preventing the company from operating. The company will make its second appearance before Justice S.O. Taylor J at the High Court holding Counsel for the Plaintiff,J. J. Campbell Esq. had earlier submitted an interim injunction against Leonoil Company Limited on behalf of his client, Jaffer Zeghir of 36B Bai Bureh Road in Freetown.
The Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) had however made a great move to resolve the matter, which Leonoil failed to comply with.
In a letter dated 15th February 2021 signed by the PRA’s Executive Chairman, Brima M. Baluwa Koroma, ordered that “…consistent with Part (111) Section 12 (2n) which empowers the Agency to perform the role of arbitrator in matters relating to the downstream petroleum industry; the position of the Agency is that all invoices e settled at their invoice prices on its corresponding value date prior to 4th February 2021 new price announcement. All Government taxes, during this period must e charged as per the pricing template corresponding to the invoice dates.”
However, the failure of the PRA’s intervention led to the matter been taken to the High Court by the Plaintiff through his Legal Representative.
The statement of claim filed in by the Plaintiff’s Lawyer states that there has been a good business relationship between the Plaintiff and the Defendants over the years in relation to fuel products buying and supplying until recently; that between the 27 day of January and the 2 day of February, 2021, the Plaintiff bought a total of Two Hundred Thousand Litres of assorted fuel products from the Defendants to the tune of One Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety-Six Million, Four Hundred Thousand Leones (Le1, 296, 400, 000); that after purchasing the said products, the Plaintiff was issued with a receipt and/or delivery notes in anticipation of collecting same from the Defendants; that the said products were meant to be transported to the provinces, but before the Plaintiff could transport same the Government of Sierra Leone had imposed some Internal Lockdown measures, restriction of movement within the Country; that the Defendants were aware of the constraints of the Plaintiff was relations to the Plaintiff getting the required passed for his fuel tankers and for the drivers to get the required Covid-19 test results from NACOVERC; That after the Plaintiff had ascertained the passes for his fuel tankers and the required COVID-19 test results for the drivers, the Plaintiff approached the Defendants to collect the products from the Defendants, the Plaintiff was informed by the Defendants that the pump prices of the fuel products has increased due to the Press Release and therefore the Plaintiff would have to pay the increased deliverances before they could supply the products the Plaintiff had initially purchased; that on arrival of the Defendants refused to give the fuel products to the Plaintiff, but rather demanded more monies to be paid by the Plaintiff before delivery; that on enquire the Defendants stated there has been an increase in pump prices and therefore the Plaintiff must pay the difference in price; that the Plaintiff refused paying the increased price and by letter dated the 5th Day of February, 2021 the Solicitors for the Plaintiff wrote a letter to the Defendants demanding the supply of Two Hundred Thousand (200,000) litres of fuel products from the Defendants; that the Defendants have refused to supply the Plaintiff’s fuel products and as a result of the Defendants conduct, the Plaintiff has suffered undue hardship, depravity and loss; and that the Defendants despite several demands made on them by the Plaintiff to supply the products have proven futile unless ordered by this Honourable Court.
The Plaintiff claims thus: A Declaration that there is a binding contract between the Plaintiff and the Defendants for the buying and supply or Two Hundred Thousand Litres of assorted Petrol and Diesel products; A Declaration that the Defendants were bound by the said contract to supply the Two Hundred Thousand Litres of assorted Petrol and Diesel products to the Plaintiff; An Interlocutory Injunction against the Defendants from conducting any further business or buying and selling fuel products pending the hearing and determination of this Action; and Damages for breach of contract. Investigations continue.