THE ALREADY suffocating Omnibus Services Authority (OSA) was yesterday, given another blow, when the giant international oil company, Shell (Gh.) Limited, moved in to seize movable assets belonging to the one time leading transport company in Ghana for defaulting in the payment of fuel consumed after a similar experience with Mobil Oil (Gh.) Limited two years ago.
OSA owes Shell (Gh.) Limited to the tune of ¢174,404,249 dating back to June 2000 and had declined to pay despite repeated demands made by the oil company.
As a result of the non-payment of the debts, the oil company instituted a legal action against OSA for the recovery of the long-standing debts.
The indebtedness has attracted three years interest of ¢152,569,461.45, bringing the total indebtedness to ¢326,973,710.45 after an Accra High court presided over by Justice (Mrs.) Helena Inkumsah Abban gave judgment in favour of Shell (Gh.) Limited on December last, on the admission of the transport company on it indebtedness.
In all, over 15 OSA vehicles were seized. These included two Recovery trucks with registration numbers, GR 5873 L and GT 9246 F, two Petrol Tankers with registration numbers, GR 5856 L and GT 9242 F, Land Rover with registration number, GR 5869 L, Benz tipper Truck and Transporters, which is made up of three buses out of the four buses left in business at the headquarters, among other vehicles.
The transport company was given all avenues to settle their indebtedness but to no avail.
OSA was granted an order by the court to make payments in installments between April to July, this year after judgment was given. However the transport company appealed against the judgment but the court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the High court. Up to date no money had been paid, The Chronicle had learnt.
Shell (Gh.) Limited had further given OSA an additional nine months from the date of the judgment without making any payments The execution exercise was carried out in a Rambo-like fashion under the direction of Johnson Complex (Gh.) Limited, a popular debt collection company, as one of the buses, which was at a hideout at the Kaneshie Anglican park, had to be fished out and another, crossed at the entrance of the OSA yard, after the driver was advised by colleagues to go into hiding in order to lodged being red taped.
The exercised, which started at about 5am and lasted three hours saw staff of the company most of them whom have not been paid for the last two years standing motionless as they observe task.
The auctioneer's notice cited by The Chronicle, indicated the date for public auction as September 14, 2004, unless OSA is able to pay off the entire debt before the date scheduled for auction.
Speaking with the Union Executives of OSA, they expressed shock and surprise at the exercised being carried out.
According to it's spokesperson, Mr. Godfreid Nyarko Okyere, National Union Chairman, government had absorbed the company's indebtedness to its creditors and the assets of the company transferred to the Metro Mass Transport (MMT), the newly created transport company, currently sharing the same yard with OSA.
The spokesperson indicated that government should have sat down with the creditors of the company to fashion out ways and means to settle the indebtedness.
Dismissing the notion that OSA had ground to a halt, the union noted that the company had 14 other depots and stations scattered throughout all the regional capital, which are still in operation.
They called on government to speed up the process of working out their salaries and severance awards in order for them to know their fate as they are currently living in a state of agony.
Some workers indicated that their children could no longer go to school for lack of finance and in addition, their situation had led to broken homes.