General News of Tuesday, 18 July 2017
The Committee set up to investigate the contaminated fuel saga at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) will continue its work in spite of Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and the National Petroleum Agency’s (NPA) report clearing the Managing Director, according to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
BOST came under the spotlight when it was revealed that it had sold 5 million litres of contaminated products to unlicensed companies in a deal that several observers claim cost the nation millions of cedis.
A BNI and National Security report cleared the current CEO of BOST of any wrongdoing in the matter, and those comments were echoed by the Boakye Agyarko at a press conference.
This conclusion was made before the 9-member Committee set up to investigate the matter had commenced their probe.
There had been calls from the Minority for the current MD to step aside for investigations to proceed without external influence.
But the Energy Minister stated at the press conference that “on the basis of previous practice, there was no wrongdoing at BOST on the sale of the 5 million litres of contaminated products,” base on the aforementioned BNI report.
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, the President said the Committee will continue to investigate the matter and provide recommendations to help rid the sector of contaminated fuel.
“Even though investigations have been concluded by the security agencies and the National Petroleum Authority, a nine-member committee, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Lawrence Darkwah, head of the Petroleum Engineering Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has been set up by the Energy Minister,” Nana Addo said.
“Among other things, the Committee is tasked with making recommendations towards putting the era of contaminated and off-spec products behind us.”
There have also been suggestions from the Minority that the BNI report was done to cover up the illegalities that had gone on at BOST and that the Energy Minister’s decision to exonerate the MD might have been influenced by orders from senior figures in government.
The Member of Parliament for Bongo, Edward Bawa said on The Big Issue: “Listening to the voice of the Minister and knowing who he is, I know he made the announcement with a lot of reluctance. [He made it] under duress.
Obviously, it’s not a junior official who’ll put pressure on him to make the decision. I feel that the man believe in the process he had put in place. He believed in the fact that the Committee he had set up had the capacity to unravel the mystery surrounding this whole transaction.”
“The Minister of Energy set up a Committee to investigate the matter based on institutional representation. I was one of the people who commented the setup of the Committee. It had someone from TOR, people from Ghana Standards Board because of standards requirements the BDCs, Civil Society and the BNI. We felt the composition of the Committee was good.”