The Sekondi High Court has slapped the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas), its main contractor, SINOPEC, and three others with an interlocutory order restraining them from carrying on any activity on the land on which Ghana Gas operates until the company regularises its occupation with the Eastern Nzema Traditional Council.
Mindful of the interest the state has in the project, however, the court, presided over by Mr Justice Kofi Akrowia, said it could not grant a permanent injunction to restrain all work on the project until the final determination of the case.
The other defendants in the case are Quantum Gas, the Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) and Ernest Nunoo, a private developer.
In view of this, the court restrained the defendants from carrying on all work on the project site for a period of 14 days, within which Ghana Gas should contact the chiefs and people of the traditional area to regularise its stay on the land.
Mr Justice Akrowia warned that should the defendants fail to take advantage of that leeway offered by the court, the injunction would then become permanent and the whole gas project would be brought to a resounding standstill.
That followed an application for an order of interlocutory injunction filed by the Omanhene of the Eastern Nzema Traditional Area, Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III.
Affidavit in support
In an affidavit in support of the suit, Awulae Kpanyinli said none of the companies had lawfully acquired the land from the traditional authority, adding that Ghana Gas initially approached the council and presented drinks indicating its preparedness to acquire the land.
It said regrettably the company never legally acquired the land and, in spite of various protests and petitions, it continued with the project.
Giving the order, the judge could not comprehend how a big national project such as the gas project could have been undertaken without due diligence on the acquisition of the land.
The very first thing the company was to have done, according to him, was to have legally acquired the land.
Ghana Gas is a mid-stream gas business company incorporated in July 2011 with the responsibility to build, own and operate infrastructure required for the gathering, processing, transporting and marketing of natural gas resources in the country.
Source: Daily Graphic