General News of Wednesday, 12 July 2017
The immediate past Managing Director (MD) of the Bulk Oil Storage Transportation (BOST), Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko, has rubbished media reports that, the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), is on his heels for alleged payments and withdrawal of money from government’s account.
According to him, the claim was a desperate attempt by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Akufo-Addo government, to divert attention from the events at BOST, with respect to the 5 million litres contaminated fuel.
He disclosed that Kakra Essamuah, former Board Chairman of BOST, has provided EOCO, with all the related information on the matter the office is investigating when he was invited there, by submitting both oral and documentary evidence to the EOCO officials.
He told The Herald, he has no reason to run away from EOCO, since he has nothing to fear, and demanded an independent institution be set up by government to probe his stewardship at BOST, because the NPP, has politicized every credible state institution, to an extent that, people might have difficulty trusting the outcomes of EOCO’s work.
The former BOST boss, who is in the United States of America (USA) for medical reasons, says he has been in contact with EOCO and that, his where about was known to officials there, some of whom have access to his phone number and email addresses, as well as the contacts of his lawyers.
Speaking to The Herald in far away US, Mr. Awuah Darko said, “By God’s Grace my recovery is almost fully complete. EOCO is not and cannot be chasing me since they know of my whereabouts”.
Mr Awuah Darko’s rebuttal, follows claim by pro-NPP newspaper, the Daily Guide recently that, EOCO, was after him.
Mr Darko, doubled as boss of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) during President John Mahama’s administration.
He said, while away in the US, the EOCO in both March and May, dropped letters at his home, which were forwarded to him by his office.
In a response, Mr Awuah Darko said, he called the offices of the EOCO and spoke to an assistant to the Director General (DG), K.K Amoah, after which he followed with a letter to EOCO and copied his lawyers.
The ex-MD told The Herald that, the letter contained his telephone number and email address, through which he could be contacted by EOCO.
Since he wrote to EOCO, Mr Awuah Darko said, EOCO was yet to reply or call him for any question whatsoever, he is therefore surprised that, the Daily Guide ,would claim he was being sought after by EOCO, and the institution has not denied the publication.
“They dropped a letter in my house somewhere towards the end of March and early May, which was sent to me by my office in Accra. On receipt of their letter I called the office and spoke to the DG’s assistant. I followed our conversation up with a letter which I copied my lawyers on.
In my response to EOCO, I gave them my telephone number and my email on which I could be reached on. EOCO, has not responded to my letter either by email or by phone to date”, he told this paper.
On accusation by the Daily Guide newspaper that he lodged money into Chief of Staff’s (CoS) Sundry Account and reportedly cashed by the Office of the Chief of Staff, he explained the account was a genuine one and the siltation at the time demanded for it.
According to him, “This account is not a fake account, neither is the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic of Ghana a fake position. BOST, as you are aware is in charge of fuel security in the country.
He explained that, “BOST by virtue of this mandate took up the task of supplying fuel to Armed Forces and the Presidency at the request of the CDS (Admiral Quarshie) and the CoS because the Goods & Services budget allocated to them by MoFEP was inadequate to keep them operational”.
Mr. Awuah Darko said, after heeding to this request for months, their attention was drawn to the fact that, they were not an Oil Marketing Company (OMC) and so they could not supply fuel directly to the aforementioned institutions.
From there, BOST, arranged with state-owned Goil and Go Energy to supply the product to the state institutions.
“After BOST made a number of regular monthly supplies, probably in the region of 6 or 7 months, our attention was drawn to the fact that we were not an OMC and as such we could not supply the military directly and so we commenced the supply via Go Energy and Goil whom we were also supplying through the Strategic Reserve Petroleum Program I had instituted at BOST”, he continued.
However, Mr Awuah Darko, said the arrangement run into serious difficulties after confusion ensued over which fuel product supplied, went to the army officers and to Goil.
To solve the challenge, the former MD, said he consulted with BOST board and an approval was given that internally, BOST funds it, by putting 5 pesewas on top of all sales made from Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme to fund both the presidency and the military.
“Needless to say our hitherto smooth sailing situation with Goil ran into serious reconciliation issues as a result of the confusion around which fuel we supplied went to the security services, and which went to Goil.
It was at this point when a decision was made that in order to avoid the reconciliation issues and not put the entire fuel security programme at risk we come up with a solution that keeps the Military and the Presidency’s fuel operations running.
In this respect, I went to my Board and got approval that internally BOST funds this by putting 5 pesewas on top of all our sales out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme to fund fuelling the Presidency and selected Security Services”, he said.
According to him, “As such, at the end of every month we would look at the cash that had accrued into that fund (bearing in mind, the cash accruing into that fund, by virtue of its set up, did not belong to BOST and could not be used by the company) was duly paid into the designated account for the funds the Chief of Staff sundries account.
This, I can say on authority, was used to fuel the entire Presidency, including the Presidential Jet and other National Security operations. Please note that, approvals were granted at all levels to protect the legitimacy of the transaction. Presidential request and approval (via the Chief of Staff’s office, Ministerial approval, via the Ministry of Petroleum, captured in a Memo and sent to the BOST board which also duly approves the transaction”.
EOCO, he said, has investigated the issue and had invited the board chairman, Kakra Essamuah, who provided them with all the related information needed on the matter.
“EOCO knows this because they have investigated the matter. In actual fact, about three weeks ago my Board Chairman Kakra Essamuah, was invited by EOCO on this same issue, he provided the Commission with all the relevant information in addition to confirming verbally to them all the above.
So the story that EOCO is chasing me is palpably false and the issue of transfers to the CoS is not illegal as is being suggested. In fact if one wants to steal money, why would one transfer the money to a statutory account held by the Chief of Staff, which can be audited at any point in time?”, he queried.