Vivo Energy Sued Over Atimpoku ‘Water Petrol’

Vivo Energy Ghana Limited has been sued for alleged negligence that led to its Shell fuel station at Atimpoku, near the Adomi Bridge in the Eastern Region, selling petrol mixed with water to unsuspecting customers late last month.

The plaintiff, Edmund Barwuah, in a suit filed before an Accra High Court argues that Vivo Energy owed a duty of care to the public to ensure that fuel products sold at its filling stations meet the required standards, but that duty was breached by Vivo for “selfish and unholy financial gain.”

Mr. Barwuah was one of the many people who bought petrol contaminated with water from the Atimpoku Shell fuel station on August 28, 2022, which led to the closure of the station by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

The company, in a statement, explained that water had leaked into the underground tank of the station after a heavy rain in the area, and subsequently apologised for the incident.

The plaintiff in his statement of claim filed by his counsel, Dela Blagogee of Blagogee, Blacksword and Co. Law Chambers, avers that Vivo Energy placed profit ahead of human lives and endangered the lives of the plaintiff and his friend, John Michael Appiah-Acheampong, by fueling his 2017 Ford Explorer vehicle they were travelling in with contaminated fuel.

He states that shortly after the plaintiff exited the Atimpoku Shell filling station and about a kilometre drive, his car started to jolt and stutter with extreme violence after which the engine ceased abruptly in the middle of the road whilst the vehicle was in motion.

“The plaintiff says he and his friend suffered shock, fear and panic as he had never experienced such a situation with his car before. Again, the real possibility of an accident happening and the resultant injury or possible death the situation had exposed them to additionally heightened their fear,” the suit avers.

The plaintiff further avers that the filling station continued to sell the contaminated fuel to unsuspecting customers despite the station master being informed about the contamination about an hour earlier, and this constitutes reckless disregard for lives and property of the plaintiff and the general public.

It is for this reason that the plaintiff avers that the defendant “knew that the fuel product it was selling to the public including the plaintiff was contaminated and mixed with water, and deliberately decided not only to shortchange the plaintiff and the general public but also to put the lives of unsuspecting consumers at risk.”

He adds that due to the damage caused to his car, he missed a scheduled business meeting thereby costing him a business opportunity worth $2.5 million.

The plaintiff is therefore asking for special damages of $2.5 million, an order on Vivo Energy to replace his 2017 Ford Explorer with a similar vehicle of the same specification, damages of GH₵600.0 per day for the loss of use of his car starting from August 28 to the day the vehicle is replaced, among others.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak