Business News of Sunday, 16 September 2018
The Chairman of a Committee tasked to recommend how to handle off-spec products at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST), Senyo Hosi, has urged the management to deal with persons behind alleged fuel losses once and for all.
According to Senyo Hosi who is also the CEO of the Chamber for Bulk Oil Distributors, the time to take action is now to help clean BOST and cut down losses.
“We have to deal with these things and persons who may have been culpable in one form or the other… Probably it’s an opportunity to really get into this and start dealing with any cartel in there or anybody who is culpable. A lot of funny things have happened at BOST, and I think that the management of BOST and government should deal with it both in their time and in the previous times. What I’ve observed is that everybody comes and it’s like I’m covering the previous government, ” he said on Citi FM/Citi TV’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday.
BOST is in the news again, this time over the disappearance of about 600,000 liters of its contaminated fuel which is said to have “evaporated.” A five-member committee set up by the current Managing Director of BOST, George Mensah Oakley to take stock of five million liters of the off-spec product noticed the disappearance.
Senyo Hosi’s committee uncovered that out of over 5 million liters of contaminated fuel, over 1 million liters went missing.
Mr. Hosi said his team observed that 400,000 liters had been sold without due process while the remaining 600,000 liters “evaporated.”
“We are told that about some 671,000 liters may have evaporated which seems to be abnormal for petroleum as far as storage of goods in BOST is concerned. It was supposed to be at the possession of the BOST depot managers. And it’s been explained for now that it may have evaporated which does not add up,” he said in an interview on Eyewitness News on Friday.
Throwing further light on the development on The Big Issue on Saturday, Mr. Hosi said his committee does not have the power to investigate persons behind the disappearance.
He said there are abnormal fuel losses BOST which needs investigations and sanctions.
He noted that with diesel the rate of fuel loss is usually supposed to be “0.25% and for petrol its 0.32%” but added that at BOST the figures go up astronomically which does not make sense.
“There are more product losses coming up. I will be filing for the BDCs. Where did the products go? One full cargo entered the system, and they can’t find the product again, and taxpayers have to pay. So probably it’s an opportunity to really get into this and start dealing with any cartel in there or anybody who is culpable. The sense of accountability is generally missing in our government and public institutions, and that has to be dealt with,” he added.
BOST unending troubles
BOST was in the news in June 2017 for causing the country to lose some GHc7 million in revenue for allegedly selling some five million liters of contaminated fuel at a cheap price to some two unlicensed companies [at the time]; Movenpinaa and Zup Oil, set up days before the sale.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) confirmed that the two companies were also not licensed.
Following Citi News reports, there were calls for the then BOST MD, Alfred Obeng Boateng to be interdicted.
However, he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Ministry of Energy.
Battle with COPEC
Fast forward to 2018, the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), also accused the then MD, Alfred Obeng Boateng of financial wrongdoing.
COPEC, in April 2018 claimed Ghana lost about GHc23 million in revenue when 1.8 million barrels of crude oil was sold at a discount to an unlicensed company.
Alfred Obeng Boateng slammed the accusations, describing them as baseless.
Nonetheless, COPEC petitioned the Special Prosecutor to investigate the allegations.
Mr. Obeng was subsequently sacked by the President and named George Mensah Oakley as the new MD.
Edward Bawa petitions CHRAJ over BOST’s $3m payment to Springfield NDC Member of Parliament for Bongo Constituency, Edward Bawa, had also petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to investigate what he calls the unlawful payment of some $3 million to Springfield Energy by top managers of BOST.
The MP accused Managing Director of BOST, George Mensah Okley and his deputy, John Kojo Ankoful, of making the payment against the advice of BOST’s external lawyers.
“The respondents knew that Springfield did not merit that, but still went ahead to effect payment to them. In line with my duties as a citizen of this nation and in light of the above, I have no option than to petition CHRAJ for an investigation into the matter, and the application of the necessary sanctions,” the petition said.