General News of Thursday, 13 July 2017
Accused former Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage Transportation (BOST), Kingsley Kwame Awuah Darko, has described as a desperate attempt on the part of government and officials of the Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) the circulation of information to suggest he is being pursued for having been involved in some ‘shady’ payments and withdrawal of money from government’s account.
Awuah Darko who claims he is clean believes that the reports are attempts being made by government to shift the public’s focus from the BOST ‘dirty oil’ saga that supposedly exposed their “rots”.
According to him, he sees no reason in “running away” from something he has absolutely no hand in, the reason he demanded an independent institution be set up by government for investigations as far as the allegations of his involvement at BOST is concerned, to produce results that were accurate and transparent.
Mr. Awuah disclosed that every information; oral and documented, relevant for investigations as far the issue is concerned, were presented to officials of EOCO by former Board Chair of BOST, Kakra Essamuah when he was invited to their office for questioning.
He added that contrary to what many are being made to believe, his current stay in the United States of America (USA) is as a result of some health issues he has to deal with and not because he is being pursued. Even so he explained, he has made available his contact details and email addresses to officials of EOCO, most of whom know his whereabouts and therefore cannot be possibly ‘chasing’ him.
“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 maintained that details of his contact and email address were forwarded to the office of EOCO and copied to his lawyers after he received letters forwarded from their office which they had dropped at his house while he was away. These letters he said, were still yet to be replied by the very same persons who are claiming to be pursuing him.
“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. EOCO has not responded to my letter either by email or phone to date”.
Questionable payments from government’s account
The former Managing Director was reported to have made some “questionable payments and withdrawals” from an account believed to be the Former Chief-of-Staff’s “sundry account” while in office, running into several millions of Ghana cedis.
Speaking on the issue, he refuted the claims, indicating that the account was a genuine one and that the situation necessitated the transaction.
He explained that BOST which is in charge of fuel security in the country had been tasked with supplying fuel to Armed Forces and the Presidency by the CDS (Admiral Quarshie) and the CoS because the Goods and Services budget allocated to them by MoFEP was inadequate to keep them operational.
Months after the supply per the request, their attention was drawn to the fact that they could not continue to supply fuel directly to the institutions owing to the fact that they were not an oil Marketing Company (OMC). A new arrangement where state-owned Goil and Go Energy were made to supply fuel to the institutions, was put in place.
“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 said.
“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”.
“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 added.
Mr. Awuah however maintained that he had to in consultation with the BOST board, approve funding of the fuel supply after the new arrangement caused a bit of a stir; there was confusion over which fuel product supplied, went to the Armed Forces and which went to Goil.
The arrangement required that 5 pesewas be put on top of all sales made from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme to fund both institutions; the military and the Presidency.
“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.
Monies accrued from the fund he explained were duly paid into the designated account for the funds; the Chief of Staff sundries account, monthly, cognisant of the fact that the monies did not belong to BOST and therefore could not be used in any way by them.
These monies according to him, “were 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”.
“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 stated.