General News of Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Some powerful state actors are involved in the recent $5 million litres contaminated fuel which was reportedly offloaded by the market at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST).
That is the conviction of the Exective Director of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers of Ghana (COPEC), Duncan Amoah.
According to him, the development is being shielded by a ‘mafia’ who have the full detail about the operation of illegal companies in the downstream oil sector but are reluctant to act due to their personal interests.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday, Duncan Amoah said it was saddening that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) claimed the BOST Managing Director, Alfred Obeng was innocent hence cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter.
According to him, there was clear evidence that BOST was irresponsible in agreeing to sell off the product.
“Every step of the decision, there are questions to be answered. It leaves you a bit sad that the real truth is being covered; the real substance of the matter is being shielded from public discussion.”
“[There has been] several instances where NPA will arrest some of these illegal fuel dealers and by close of day, some big people in big places will call that you should release those trucks. It is a mafia.”
“They know all the facts on the ground, unfortunately, there are some so-called bigger man, bigger hands”
Duncan Amoah alleged that there were many illegal facilities in Tema dealing in the contaminated fuel but nothing could be done about them due to the influence of some top government officers.
He added that some insiders at BOST assisted to contaminate the fuel to give business to private companies they had stakes in.
“…in BOST to arriving at 5 million liters contained, how it got contaminated, some of us suspect strongly that there were insider hands who were looking to give business to outsiders.”
Mr. Duncan Amoah’s position corroborates the point made by the President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe who said on the Big Issue in June that the fuel was contaminated deliberately.
Franklin Cudjoe said it was “perpetrated fraud.”
“Somebody must have been engaged in this whole fuel fraud and somehow it needed to be offloaded and a company has been set up not properly incorporated and we have decided to reduce that value of whatever has been contaminated deliberately, I don’t think it was a mistake. This fuel fraud is an organized crime. It is not just in Ghana…Don’t ever think these things are done by mistake,” he said.
It emerged last month that the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation company (BOST) signed a deal to sell about 5 million litres of contaminated fuel to Movenpiina Energy and Zup Oil at a discounted price that could result in Ghana losing about GHs7 million in revenue.
Energy sector analysts, Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) said that BOST exhibited unwarranted discretion in the award of the contract to Movenpiina but the management of BOST in a rebuttal said its decision to sell off the contaminated or off-spec products to Movenpiina was the most prudent considering the potential loss of revenue.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) later announced that the Movenpiina and Zup Oil were not licensed to operate in the oil and gas sector.
The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko constituted an 8-member investigative committee to look thoroughly into the matter amidst calls from different groups including ACEP and the minority in parliament for the Chief Executive Officer of BOST, Alfred Obeng to be interdicted.
The Minister later at a press conference said based on a report by the BNI, he had cleared the BOST MD of any wrongdoing.