General News of Monday, 5 November 2018
A Ghanaian company by name draper oil and gas limited, has hauled Siemens Oil And Gas Equipment Limited, to court for violating the provisions of the petroleum (local content and local participation) regulations, 2012 (li 2204) after the two firms in December 2015, started negotiations to participate in a compressor contract to be awarded by Eni, a company that operates in Ghana’s petroleum industry.
By the Eni contract dated July 8, 2016 between Eni and Siemens Ghana, Siemens Ghana was contracted by Eni to provide a gas compressor package and associated works.
But Draper Oil and Gas Limited, for the purpose of it participation in the compressor contract, Siemens Ghana instructed it to secure quotation from Jorginc, a company registered in Germany for the transportation of coolers and compressors and these quotations were incorporated into the tender Siemens Ghana submitted to Eni.
According to draper oil and gas limited, per the submission of the local content plan, it was to execute parts of the Eni contract.
These includes, recruitment and training for local engineers, project management practitioners, sourcing and procuring of three coolers for the two compressors, transportation of the coolers and compressors from various collection points in Europe to Sanzule in Ghana and handling of other miscellaneous procurement in the country.
Draper says, following the execution of the Eni contract, it was poised to execute it part of the contract as required by law and entered into various discussions with Siemens to provide for that purpose.
However, despite all it representations to Siemens Ghana about its readiness and willingness to perform its scope of the agreement, the defendant has prevented it from performing its assigned activities pursuant to the requirements of the local content law of Ghana and the joint venture agreement (JVA).
According to draper, “it is unlawful for defendant, contrary to its representations in the local content plan submitted to and approved by the petroleum commission, to act in a way that eviscerates or seeks to defeat the objectives of the (local content and local participation) regulations, 2013 (LI 2204)”.
Draper oil and gas insists that all efforts to get Siemens to comply with the local content laws have fallen on deaf ears thus the court case to restrain it from continuing to violate the local content law or, “it will persist its unlawful acts and in the process undermine the legislative objects of the local content laws”.
The Ghanaian company is seeking against Siemens a declaration that it has violated the provisions of the local content and participation laws, an order of perpetual injunction restraining Siemens from awaiting or allowing any third party to perform any part of the eni contract to be performed by the draper.
it is also praying the court to put perpetual injunction to restrain Siemens from acting in any manner inconsistent with the said local content plan and the petroleum (local content and local participation) regulations, 2013 (li 2204) and costs including legal cost and any further or other orders as the court may deem fit.
But because of the objection put in by the Siemens, the court is now looking into the application after which the main case will follow.
Siemens South Africa owns 90 per cent of the shares of Siemens Ghana, while draper owns the remaining 10 per cent of the shares. the Siemens was set up as a joint venture agreement (JVC) dated April 2016 between Siemens (pty) limited, a company registered and incorporated under the laws of South Africa (Siemens South Africa) and Draper Oil and Gas.
There was, however, drama in court last week Thursday, when counsel for Siemens oil and gas equipment Ghana Limited, tried without success to read his own legal objection filed to put a halt to a writ it brought against it by draper oil and gas company limited; a Ghanaian firm.
It was day two of hearing of the case at the commercial court 2 presided over by justice George Koomson, however, due to alegal objection filed on October 24, 2018,by Siemens Ghana, the main case could not be heard.
Representing Draper oil and gas company limited, was Dr. Abdul Baasit Aziz Bamba , while Siemens had counsel Parku Saaka and one other lawyer from his chamber.
At about 10:10 am when the presiding judge, George Koomson, called the case, Siemens counsel, Parku Saaka rose on his feet, indicating to the court that, his firm has put in legal objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
The judge, who did not have a copy of the said application, then demanded that the counsel for Siemens, reads portions of the application that, contained the objection for him to see the nature of the objection but what was expected to be a simple task appeared daunting for the counsel, who after a brief silence, told the court that he was unable to read that portion.
Justice Koomson, who did not understand counsel’s difficulty, insisted that he looks for it and read but again, he was unable to do so. the judge, who appeared not determined told counsel, “We want to know the legal objection” and added “there are times you don’t waste out time”.
While the counsel continued to stand on his feet without being able to read what was expected of him, Justice Koomson at this point, asked counsel to bring him the application so he looks for the objection but here again, Counsel did not do as directed. “if you can’t read, just bring it, i will find it and read”, Justice Koomson said.
The judge argued that there was no need for the Siemens’ lawyer to file an application for legal objection to waste time and that, he could simply read the motion if he had a copy but the counsel looked lost, following the suggestion by the judge which ignited laughter among all present.
At this juncture, Dr. Baasit Aziz Bamba, interjected and said, he knew what the objection was.
Here, the judge who appeared a bit relieved turned to the direction of Dr. Bamba and asked him to go ahead and make known what it is Draper Oil and Gas’ counsel told the court that, Siemens was raising issues of “jurisdiction”.
The judge having gotten to know what the objection was about told the defendant’s counsel to come prepared the next time. the case was then adjourned to yesterday November 1, 2018, by which time, the judge would have personally gotten a copy of the application.