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Court to rule on National Petroleum Authority’s Stay of Execution January 24

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The Accra High Court has fixed January 24, 2012 to rule on an application for stay of execution pending appeal of its decision that the ex-refinery differential component imposed by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) was a tax and, therefore, illegal for want of parliamentary authorisation.

The court, in its decision of November 28, 2011, held that the NPA lacked the power to review the petroleum pricing formula to include the ex-refinery differential and that the authority and the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) should stop collecting the ex-refinery differential component forthwith, while TOR should also publish in the national daily newspapers within four months of the date of the judgement all moneys accrued from the implementation of the ex-refinery differential from June, 2009 to November 28, 2011.

Costs of GH¢5,000 were awarded against the NPA.

The plaintiffs, namely, Development Data, a non-governmental organisation, Kwaku Kwarteng and Abdul Ganiju, on September 28, 2009 sued the defendants and sought a declaration, among others, that the ex-refinery component of the ex-refinery price imposed by the NPA on June 5, 2009 was illegal and not in accordance with the prescribed pricing formula and, therefore, unlawful, for which reason a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from imposing the ex-refinery differentia should be imposed.

Not satisfied with  the court’s decision, the NPA, on November 29, 2011, appealed against it by filing a notice of appeal seeking to reverse the whole judgement of the court.

Mr Aziz Bamba Abdul Bassit, who argued the motion for the NPA, said the ex-refinery differential was not tax because it was compensatory in character and for the court to hold otherwise was flawed.

He said the matter was even constitutional in nature, since there were legal and public policy issues that needed to be resolved to provide guidelines for independent regulatory bodies such as the NPA.

Counsel for the plaintiffs/respondents, Mr Alex Abban, argued that the applicant had not demonstrated to the court that there were any exceptional circumstances which would warrant granting the stay or that a  stay would work any hardship on the applicant, whose activities were only a handmaid and subservient to the common interest of Ghanaians.

Source: Daily Graphic

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