General News of Friday, 7 July 2017
The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), National Security and Energy Minister, have been caught in a web of contradiction in the dirty oil case, as their reports differs from accounts of the transaction narrated by the principal actor in the dirty oil trade; Alfred Obeng Boateng, the Managing Director (MD) of the Bulk Oil Storage & Transportation Company (BOST).
According to the BNI and National Security report read by the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko at a press briefing, BOST, had received interest for the purchase of contaminated products from 15 companies, including Movenpiina, which offered the highest price of GH¢1.30, forming the basis of its selection.
Mr. Agyarko, had claimed that, the BNI and National Security secretariat, had discovered Movenpiina’s offer as the highest price ever offered for the sale of the contaminated products, since the inception of BOST.
Interestingly, however, the BOST MD, Alfred Obeng Boateng, had in an earlier interview on Accra-based Atinka FM, long before the BNI and National Security launched their secret investigations in the transaction, told the Ghanaian public that, Movenpiina, was the only company that had approached BOST and had been considered for the sale of the contaminated fuel.
According to excerpts of an interview granted by the embattled MD of BOST to Atinka FM, which is available to The Herald, it was after Movenpiina’s offer had been approved that a lot of companies heard about the deal and also put in their bids to purchase the contaminated fuel.
Mr. Obeng, who had financed the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) while in opposition, disclosed that due to the pressure from these companies, he had to summon Movenpiina to dialogue with them for the way forward.
He revealed that, Movenpiina, subsequently agreed that 2 million litres of their 5 million consignments should be given to MacWest and Zupp Oil and that it was the lifting of Zup oil’s consignment to be sold to the other companies that generated the current controversy.
The MD’s assertion, therefore, contradicts the claims by the BNI and National Security read by Energy minister that 15companies bided alongside Movenpiina for the purchase of the adulterated fuel, therefore, there was no wrongdoing on the part of the BOST and its MD.
There was no pronouncement on the illegal companies that BOST traded with; Movepiina and Zup Oil.
Meanwhile, Ghanaians continue to doubt the existence of the BNI and National Security report, describing it in various derogatory terms.
The report which hit Ghanaians out of the blue, came just as the eight member committee tasked by the Energy Minister, to look into the contaminated oil issue was yet to meet, deliberate on when, where and who to call as its first witness and also fix a date to release its findings.
The Committee which was made up of representatives of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and others were tasked by the minister to look into the circumstances that led to the contamination of the fuel and review the procedures undertaken by BOST to evacuate the product and ascertain the quality and remaining quantity of the product.
It is even unclear, whether individual members of the committee to be delegated by their respective institutions, had been named.
The managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide, Kweku Baako, does not understand why the BNI, did not include their findings to the committee’s work, so that there will be one report, especially as there is a representative of the BNI on the committee.
“They should have allowed the committee to do its job…the committee had a representative of BNI and so I thought whatever they had, they would have input it to the committee set by the minister. It makes everything untidy…” he indicated during a panel discussion on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’, Wednesday.
Policy think tank IMANI Ghana, also questioned the BNI’s motive for exonerating BOST MD of any wrongdoing in the sale of contaminated fuel ahead of a ministerial committee set up by the Ministry of Energy to investigate the matter.
Reacting to the BNI report, the President of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, said it was alarming for the BNI, which is part of the ministerial committee set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the sale of the contaminated fuel, to quickly exonerate the MD while the committee is yet to conclude its work.
He described the move by the BNI as “juvenile”, “delinquent” and “laughable”.
Speaking to Moro Awudu on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class 91.3FM on Thursday, July 6, Mr. Cudjoe said: “The BNI is said to be part of the committee that the Energy Minister set up to investigate. So as to why they would come up ahead of the Energy Ministry, that’s another matter that ought to be discussed”.
He added that “it looks as if the BNI’s role, I don’t know what type of reference was given them, but it looks as if they only came to say that an individual was not culpable in this so-called contamination which I think is fraud. I think it was deliberate by the way. So we should be more alarmed that ahead of the committee’s report, a member of the committee would come up and say that they think that someone else is not culpable and I’m not too sure that it’s a wise decision to make at all.”
To this end, Mr. Cudjoe, has called on the government to initiate a fresh probe into the sale of the contaminated fuel by BOST.
Another Policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK) is also asking the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to look into the BOST scandal.
“A widespread issue concerning the sale of 5 million litres of contaminated fuel sold to Movenpinaa at 1ghc per litre with no down payment who then sold to MacWest Limited for Ghc 1.32 which was as well sold to Zip Oil Limited for Ghc 1.80 has come to our attention”.
To this end, it said “we at Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK) keenly observed events surrounding the deal and the widespread condemnation from industry experts and civil society organizations. It is not doubtful that this altercative issue has once again put the country on the spot light for wrong reasons”.
A statement signed by NiiTettey Tetteh, its Executive Director read ”We have as well taken note of the fact that Bureau Of National Investigation (BNI) and National Security has exonerated the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) Managing Director”.
Industry experts, civil society organizations, as well as other political parties, have began to question the authenticity of the report, it said.
“It is for this reason, we at STRANEK, make a passionate call on Commission Of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to look into this scandalous matter. We believe CHRAJ is independent enough to bring out report which will be credible for all and sundry to understand”.
CHRAJ, must respectfully focus on; a) the conflict of interest with regards to the relation between Movenpinaa and the BOST MD, Mr. Alfred Obeng Boateng.
b) The purported corruption as to whether Movenpinaa Company, was the only company BOST dealt with in the sale of the contaminated fuel in a sole sourced transaction.
c) Whether or not negligence, lack of supervision played a pivotal role with regards to the contaminated fuel which could be seen as an attempt to enrich others at the expense of the state and the Ghanaian tax payer?
“We hope our clarion call on CHRAJ to look into this matter will be fulfilled, adding “we are all involved in building our motherland Ghana”.
The BOST MD as result of his financial contributions to the NPP, is seen as having bought his appointment from the Akufo-Addo government, hence cannot be reprimanded no matter his wrongdoing.