Commercial Creditor tightens noose on Argentina … rejects annulment of injunction placed on its naval ship
By Ivy Benson
NML Capital Limited, a commercial creditor of the Republic of Argentina in bonds valued at over $200Million has vehemently opposed the setting aside of an interlocutory injunction placed on the naval vessel belonging to Argentina, that is presently docked at the Tema Port.
This followed a request of the Republic of Argentina to the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court to set aside a restraining order granted the plaintiff, NML Capital Limited against the Vessel ARA Libertad, a training ship for seamen from Argentina and other countries, which is said to be on a tour of Africa.
According to NML Capital Limited, the request made by the Republic of Argentina has no legal basis and should, therefore, be ignored and dismissed.
The 103-meter-long vessel is currently in Ghana to offer naval training after it left the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires on June 2, with a reported total crew of 220, including 69 members of the Argentine Navy and 110 students.
The court, presided over by Justice Richard Adjei Frimpong, yesterday fixed October 11, this year, to rule on where or not to revoke the restraining orders placed on the Argentine naval vessel, after lawyers of both parties to the suit made their arguments on the application before the court.
The Court had restrained the Captain and crew of the Argentine naval ship, which had docked at the Tema Port, from moving or bunkering the ship without further order of the court.
The court had further ordered that the naval ship, ARA Libertad, should remain at the port, pending the hearing on the enforcement in Ghana of judgments against Argentina, issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and supported by similar judgments in London.
The restraining order came on the heels of a request filed by NML Capital Limited, an affiliate of investment firm Elliott Management and commercial creditor of the Republic of Argentina against the Latin American nation after it failed to pay its 2002 debt.
The court further ordered the Harbour Master whether by himself or his assigns or agents, to preserve the presence of the ship and also go on board the ship to take possession of all its mandatory documents.
NML was on December 18, 2006, granted a summary judgement by the US District Court for the recovery from Argentina, the principal amount of bonds valued at $284,184,632.30 with respect to 10. 25 per cent Global Bonds due July 21, 2030, plus interest thereon.
Consequently, on December 5th, 2011, the UK High Court (QB) ordered the payment of the principal bond amount with interest by consent.
Arguing his points towards maintaining the restrictive orders on the Argentine vessel, the counsel for NML Capital Limited, Mr. Ace Annan Ankomah, noted that the Republic of Argentina entered into a Fiscal Agency Agreement (FAA) on October 19, 1994, with the Bankers Trust Company, a New York banking corporation, who issued securities and bonds for purchase by the country.
Counsel further noted that in the agreement entered into, the Republic of Argentina waived any immunity it enjoys in terms of pre-judgment attachment and execution attachment of any of its assets and properties.
Plaintiff further rejected arguments of the defendants that they enjoy immunity since that had been waived by the agreement entered into with it and denied that the vessel ARA Libertad is entitled to the status of a diplomatic mission under Ghana law or international law.
It is also the view of the plaintiff that the defendant country has the capacity to pay off it debt and, therefore, the vessel ARA Libertad would be released if they paid their debts own to them.
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