General News of Monday, 3 July 2017
The scandal that has rocked the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Limited in the release of large quantities of contaminated fuel (dirty oil) to private companies for distribution is beginning to take a new twist.
This is because there appears to be emerging evidence that about 12 million litres of the same contaminated fuel was sold to about 36 unlicensed entities and individuals in 2016 during the tenure of the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko, under the previous Mahama administration.
The contaminated products were regular phenomena at BOST under the leadership of Awuah Darko, who is said to be cooling off in the United States.
Between March 05, 2015 and August 04, 2015, BOST, under the previous Mahama administration, sold 8,190,000 litres of contaminated fuel to 24 companies that were all unlicensed.
Also between January 16, 2016 and November 30, 2016, BOST sold 12,400.000 litres to 25 unlicensed companies.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that the price per litre sold by BOST under the then NDC government was lower than what was sold to the private entities under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.
Currently, the CEO of BOST, Alfred Obeng Boateng, has been accused of selling about 5 million litres of the contaminated fuel to companies, some of which are said to be unlicensed for the business; but he has continuously denied any wrongdoing.
Workers of BOST have backed the CEO to call the bluff of all those who are asking him to vacate his post.
The issue took a political dimension when the Minority NDC in parliament held a news conference asking that the BOST CEO be sacked by the government.
But the NPP Majority has hit back calling for a ‘high-profile’ forensic investigation into the operations of BOST, saying that should go beyond the short tenure of Mr. Obeng Boateng.
The Ministry of Energy has already set up an 8-member ministerial committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the release of large quantities of contaminated oil by BOST to private companies for distribution.
A news release issued in Accra and signed by the sector minister, Boakye Agyarko, said the committee would be made of representatives from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Chamber of Bulk Distributors (CBDs), Association of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), Energy Commission, as well as a representative from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
According to the release, the committee, whose time frame for the investigation was not given, is expected to determine the circumstances that created the ‘off-spec’ product, review the procedures undertaken by BOST to evacuate the product, as well as ascertain the quality and remaining quantity of the product.
The committee has also been tasked to determine if the product can be corrected; if not, determine the alternative use for the product and review the transaction after which it is expected to advise the ministry on the necessary technical, administrative and legal actions to be taken.
BOST has always insisted that not a single drop of the alleged dirty oil has found its way onto the market, although Senyo Hosi, CEO of Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, claimed it had been distributed and even warned the public on social media platform , Facebook against the contaminated fuel, which he said was being sold around Kpone in the Tema enclave of the Greater Accra Region.
The NPA sealed the tanks at its Zupoil depot, Golf City, near Tema, where the supposed contaminated fuel products had been stored to allow for investigations into the whole saga.
BOST allayed the fears when it issued a statement saying it was collaborating with its partner agencies and the NPA to closely monitor and forestall the leakage of any contaminated product onto the market.
“BOST’s responsibility is to sell off-spec products to a qualified company and it is important to note that off-spec products are used by the steel, garment, petro-chemical companies to run their machinery and certainly not for the running of vehicle engines. It can also be used as mixture for asphalt and turpentine to prevent decay of wood, etc. and therefore cannot fathom how possible off-spec products could be sold to unsuspecting consumers for whatever reason. That notwithstanding, it is a fact that NPA is fully in control as usual and will not allow this to happen,” BOST said in the statement.