NPP MPs suit against Atuabo free project port thrown out

The Court of Appeal in Cape Coast has dismissed a case filed by five New Patriotic Party MPs against expansion of the Atuabo Free Port project in Takoradi.

The court, presided over by Justice Clement Hoenyenugah, said the applicants did not follow the right procedure in the appeal.

The appeal was seeking to overturn a ruling by the Sekondi High Court in October 2014, that dismissed the MPs’ application for a judicial review of a law they claim restricts further expansion of oil and gas facilities at the Takoradi Port in favor of Atuabo Free Port.

According to the court, Parliament – which approved the 600 million dollar project – is an independent arm of government and any decision to quash what has been approved by the legislative body with the right procedures as per the standing orders cannot be overturned by a court.

In July, Parliament approved an agreement between the government of Ghana and a British company, Lonrho Ports, for the development of an oil and gas free port at Atuabo.

Clause 7 of the agreement bars Takoradi Port from further expanding its facilities for oil and gas until Lonrho builds its Freeport, recovers all its costs, and makes enough profit.

In filing their application, however, the MPs – Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, Obuasi West; Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko, Takoradi; Mr Joseph Cudjoe, Effia; Mr Kofi Brako, Tema Central, and Mavis Hawa Koomson, Ewutu Senya, argued that the clause was illegal.

Chairman of the roads and transport committee of parliament, Theophilus Tetteh Chae told Accra-based Joy FM the decision of the court indicates that parliament did a good job on the contract.

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