Eco Fuel FZE’s eviction from terminal is ordered by the supreme court

Eco Fuel FZE’s eviction from terminal is ordered by the supreme court

Eco Fuel FZE, which accused Srimex Oil and Gas of hijacking its petroleum storage terminal at the Free Port of Monrovia, has been served an eviction notice from the premises by the supreme court.

Eco Fuel had alleged that it invested about $25 million in foreign direct investment to build a much-needed modern petroleum storage terminal in Liberia, which has now been reportedly hijacked by Srimex Oil and Gas.

The facility was built over the course of a year to the highest of international standards using the most modern of equipment and techniques, but was closed down due to a land dispute over the ownership of the land.

However, Eco Fuel alleged that Srimex Oil and Gas, with the full support of LPRC, the government storage company and authorising body for the petroleum industry, took over and was operating the storage facility. This was despite a court order declaring that the site is not to be operational, Eco Fuel alleged.

The essence of Srimex’s suit is that it (Srimex) has the exclusive right to possess and use the land on which the terminal was built, in accordance with a lease agreement Srimex entered into with the NPA that holds title to the land.

Eco Fuel, in its response to the suit, acknowledges the NPA lease between Srimex and NPA, but stated that Srimex subsequently transferred the NPA lease to Eco Fuel by way of an assignment of lease by novation (novation and substitution agreement) between Srimex and Eco Fuel, as well as the NPA and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC).

The NPA have filed an affidavit in response to the Srimex suit, confirming the statement of Eco Fuel that Srimex assigned by novation all its rights and interest under the NPA lease to Eco Fuel. Copies of the novation agreement have been provided to the court and were put in records of the suit by both Eco Fuel and the NPA.

But the supreme court said in its decree stated that the substitution and novation agreement executed by the parties in April 2016 be cancelled ab initio, as though it was never executed.

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1st April 2021