An Accra High Court has awarded GH¢2,000 cost against three plaintiffs who cited Mr Alex Mould, Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and Mr Ato Ampiah, Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) for contempt of court.
The plaintiffs behind the contempt application are, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, NPP Parliamentary aspirant for Obuasi, Mr Abdul Ganiyu of Tamale, and Development Data, a policy research organisation.
Mr Mould and Mr Ampiah were cited for contempt of court following their refusal to pay the fuel margins they collected since June 2009 into the Consolidated Fund as ordered by the Courts last year.
They went on appeal against the High Court’s decision which is still pending but lost a stay of execution they were seeking.
Mr Ace Ankomah, counsel for TOR requested for costs to be awarded against Mr Kwarteng and the others, contending they had failed to enter judgment to go into execution for the previous court ruling.
The court in its ruling said as far as it was concerned, there was no application before it and subsequently awarded GH¢2,000 cost against them for failing to follow the court’s earlier procedure to commit Mr Mould and Mr Ampiah for contempt of court.
An estimated GH¢800 million was collected in the name of the ex-refinery differential, and in November 2011, the court ordered the defendants to remove the ex-refinery from the fuel price build up.
The plaintiffs prayed the court to punish the defendants for willfully refusing to pay the amount accruing from the illegal charge into the Consolidated Fund, and for refusing to remove the “ex-refinery differential” from the fuel price build-up.
These contemptuous conducts, the plaintiffs said had brought the court to public ridicule.
On November 28, last year, the court abolished the “ex-refinery differential” and ordered the NPA to refund the illegal amounts collected.
The NPA applied for a stay of execution of the court’s judgment, which application was refused, the NPA proceeded to the Court of Appeal to repeat their stay of execution, which application was again refused.
However, NPA and TOR have since refused to carry out the court orders and claimed that the amounts collected were used for good purposes.
Plaintiffs rejected this claim and raised concerns that the money could be entering people’s pockets because it was not subject to the financial controls that funds lodged into the Consolidated Fund are subjected to.
If convicted, Mr Mould and Mr Ampiah could face prison terms while the NPA and TOR would suffer hefty fines.