General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
The deadline for the eight member ministerial committee announced by the government to investigate how contaminated fuel is disposed off at the Bulk Oil Storage Transportation (BOST), and to provide recommendations to avert future occurrences, elapsed yesterday, July 18, 2017, without a single sitting by its members.
However, contrary to the expectation of many, information reaching The Herald, indicates that the committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Lawrence Darkwah, head of the Petroleum Engineering Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), is yet to be fully constituted, meet and discuss modalities on the BOST issue, which has become an albatross around the neck of the Akufo-Addo government.
It comes months after The Herald, revealed that government, had discarded it promise to investigate an alleged missing of cocaine at the Tema Habour earlier this year, with the officials in the scandal still at post.
The terms of reference of Dr. Darkwah’s committee include, but will not be limited to the following: determine the circumstances that created the off-spec product; review the procedures undertaken by BOST to evacuate the product; ascertain the quality and remaining quantity of the product; determine if the product can be corrected, if not determine the alternative use for the product; and review the transaction.
Representatives of National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Tema oil Refinery (TOR), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Chamber of Bulk oil Distributors, Association of Oil Marketing Companies, the Energy Commission and a member of Civil Society Organizations, were to form the ministerial committee.
The committee was to initially delve into the release of 5 million litres of off-sec fuel from the Accra Plains Depot of the BOST and the subsequent sale of 471,000 litres of the said product to Moviepiina and then to Zup Oil.
But, the work of the committee was somehow botched and redirected, after the same Energy Minister, released a Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) finding, exonerating the Managing Director of (BOST), Alfred Obeng Boateng, of any wrong doing.
According to a press release signed by the minister, the purpose for setting up the investigative committee was to ensure that the “Integrity of the quality of petroleum products supplied in the country is protected”.
In the course of the controversy last month, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament, said that the eight member committee set up to investigate the controversial oil contamination saga, had been dissolved.
But a Deputy Energy Minister, Dr Amin Adam, dismissed the claim and said the membership of the committee and its terms of reference still stood as was announced.
The Minority led by Haruna Iddrisu, rubbished the BNI findings, adding the report was nothing more than a cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the contamination and sale of almost 5 million liters of fuel.
While, the Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye, questioned the propriety of the Minister to issue to the public preliminary findings by BNI.
The deputy minister, said there were two issues that had to be solved in the wake of the oil contamination saga- a case of wrong doing by the boss of BOST and administrative procedures at BOST.
Dr Amin Adam, said the BNI investigated the conduct of Alfred Obeng and found nothing untoward about his role in the contamination saga.
According to him, the oil was contaminated on January 18, a time when the BOST boss, had not been appointed.
Once the conduct of Alfred Obeng, has been settled, he said the eight member ministerial committee, would then investigate the procedures at BOST, find out how the oil was contaminated and provide recommendations to avert future. occurence.
Haruna Iddrisu, the Tamale South Member of Parliament (MP) and the Minority Leader at the time, alleged that based on the BNI findings, the committee set up to investigate the oil contamination, would be suspended which was disputed by the deputy minister.
The Minority’s conviction is coming true, based on this paper’s information.
Speaking at a press briefing on the BOST matter yesterday, President Akufo-Addo, said the Committee would 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.”