Justice On Life Support…

As Court Delays Judgment On Jaffa Vs Leon Oil Matter

When President Bio came to power, he promised to protect the rights and investments of investors, as well as citizens, and this has been a cornerstone of his quest to woo investors to the country. However, the on-going delay in administering justice in the case of Jaffa and Leon Oil, has the potential to throw spanners into the works, and render his promises as lip-service.

It could be recalled that at the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the government imposed inter-district travel ban, which virtually prevented travel across the country, and hardest hit were petroleum dealers, and to compound the problem the government also increased the price of fuel pump price. Unfortunately, before the increment was made, some dealers had paid for supply to the various OMCs, including Leon Oil, among whom was Jaffa, owner of SKM. Receipt was issued to him for the a consignment of fuel to the tune of Le1.2 billion, already paid for and to be collected.

During this period of inter-district lockdown, all vehicles going up country had to get a permit from the government before they are allowed to travel. To take supply to his various stations across the country, Jaffa had to get a permit for his tankers to go up country with the fuel. After several days, he was given the permit. On returning to collect his supply, the price of fuel had just been increased, and he was told by Leon Oil that he should pay the difference in the price. Jaffa refused on the grounds that he had paid long before the increment of the price of fuel, and was only barred from collecting the product due to the inter-district lockdown and the requirement to have a permit to move from Freetown to any part of the country, where his stations are located. And since the petroleum product is highly flammable, it is not advisable to keep them in a tanker awaiting permission, so as to avert any mishap.

Despite investigations by the PRA and its directive to Leon Oil to honour its commitment to its customer, the company refused, resulting in Jaffa taking the matter to the High Court of the land for Justice. Unfortunately, since the matter began in Court, a lot of behind the scenes activities are alleged to have taken place resulting in a delay in administering Justice. As all the facts have been laid before the Court, even H.M Gevao Esq, who was one of Jaffa’s lawyers, in his interview with the press, explained that the whole matter is a simple sale of goods transaction, and that he has faith in the integrity of the Judge, and is hopeful for a positive outcome of the matter for his client. Unfortunately, as we go to press, judgment has still not been delivered.

Amidst this situation, Leon Oil is still doing its business unhindered, whilst Jaffa is yet to get justice, and his supply of fuel is still in the hands of Leon Oil. The way this matter is going, some concerned Sierra Leoneans say, it has the potential to discourage potential investors to come to the country and invest.

President Bio has on several occasions reiterated that he is determined to ensure that justice is served to all, regardless of their race, tribal links or political affiliation. Unfortunately, the current matter between Jaffa and Leon Oil, involving over Le1.2 billion, is allegedly being interfered with by people believe to be high up in government, as a result, the matter has stalled and Jaffa is suffering, including those working at his respective stations. Concerned workers are calling on President Bio to ensure that Jaffa gets justice, otherwise his commitment to see that justice is done to everyone will suffer a serious blow and may even discourage other Sierra Leoneans who may want to invest in the country. For in the eyes of the law, everyone is equal and should be treated on equal terms, regardless of their wealth or status in society. It is for such advantage that Sierra Leoneans voted for President Bio, especially as they see him as a disciplined Retired Brigadier.

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