Sunday, April 1, 2012

Remove ex-refinery levy - Court of Appeal

March 28, 2012 (Front Page)

THE Court of Appeal has ordered the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to with immediate effect, remove ex-refinery levy imposed on petroleum products.
It further directed the NPA to account for all moneys accrued on the levy and pay the amount into the Consolidated Fund.
Dismissing the NPA’s application for stay of execution of a High Court order which had directed it in November 2011 to remove levies imposed on petroleum products, the court in a unanimous decision held that the NPA failed to convince it to stay the lower court’s order.
The court, presided over by Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban with Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah and Mr Justice E. K. Ayebi as panel members also held that the NPA’s application for stay was devoid of merit.
It also awarded cost of GHC500 against the NPA in favour of Development Data, a Non-governmental organization (NGO) which had contested the legality of the levy at the High Court.
A date is yet to be fixed for hearing of the substantive appeal which is praying the court to dismiss in its entirety, the lower court’s decision which directed the NPA to remove ex-refinery levies imposed on petroleum products.
The High Court, in November 2011 ruled as illegal the ex-refinery levy which has been part of the petroleum price build-up.
It accordingly ordered the NPA to scrap the levy and also ordered the NPA to refund all amounts accrued from the collection of the illegal levy to be paid into the consolidated fund.
Dissatisfied with the lower court’s decision, the NPA filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal and filed an application for stay of execution of the lower court’s order pending the outcome of the substantive appeal.
However, the Court of Appeal after carefully perusing documents filed by parties in the matter, It upheld the decision by the High Court in November 2011 that illegal price margins disguised as “ex-refinery differential” should be knocked off from the fuel prices.
A cost of GH¢500 was awarded the plaintiffs.
The Court of Appeal could not state the specific amount accrued by the NPA as well as the time the money began accruing because it was not furnished with such figures.
The High Court had in January 2012 refused an application to stay execution of its earlier order.
It had on November 28, 2011 ordered the NPA to remove the illegal margins from the prices of petrol, kerosene, diesel and other petroleum products.
It also directed the NPA to publish the total amount collected from the illegal imposition and pay it into the Consolidated Fund.

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