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Wednesday 19 September 2018
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Why is NGC still litigating?

Ramesh asks

END THIS LITIGATION: Attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj addresses a news conference on the ongoing SIS/NGC court battle at his San Fernando office on Wednesday.

FORMER attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, is questioning why the National Gas Company (NGC) is continuing legal action against SIS and Rainforest, after the Privy Council dismissed NGC’s appeal and ruled in favour of the two companies.

Addressing a media conference at his Irving Street, San Fernando law offices on Wednesday, Maharaj recalled that the contract to build the Beetham Water Recycling Plant was entered between NGC and SIS on March 10, 2014.

However, it was terminated in 2015 after NGC alleged that work done by SIS was overpriced and that SIS owed NGC $180 million. NGC subsequently obtained a Mareva Injunction against SIS, to freeze its assets and property up to the value of $180 million. A Mareva injunction is an order granted by the Court to freeze the assets of a person or entity named in a case.

Since then, the matter was heard in the local High Court and Court of Appeal and finally in the London-based Privy Council where the matter was dismissed. Maharaj said despite the Privy Council’s ruling, NGC is continuing with litigation by now applying to the High Court to, “correct their omissions and regularising their position so the matter may be resuscitated and resumed all over again.”

“This means its application for relief from sanctions can go from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and to the Privy Council again incurring substantial costs.” He said the NGC is now liable to pay both SIS and Rainforest damages which both companies incurred from December 2015 to July 16, 2018 as a result of the injunction brought against both of them.

The legal costs are very expensive when you are seeking redress at the level of the local Court of Appeal and the United Kingdom’s Privy Council. They (NGC) must say to the population whether they can justify using taxpayers’ money in such an expensive litigation when it could be avoided, he said.

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