General News of Thursday, 20 September 2018
The Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu, has disclosed that government will investigate all past managers of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company, to make them account for activities that led to the state agency losing huge sums of money.
Mr. Amewu stated that since 2013, some managers of BOST deliberately entered into contracts that led to huge losses.
President Akufo-Addo recently fired Mr. Alfred Obeng Boateng as the CEO of BOST. It is unclear what the reasons were, but his removal came after the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC), alleged that he wrongfully sold millions of litres of contaminated fuel.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Amewu, the new Minister for the sector, stressed that all past managers will be investigated to provide reasons for some financial contracts they entered into.
“There is going to be a shakeup in BOST. We are going to examine the operations of BOST over a period, and immediately that happens, you will see the shakeup. Shakeup in BOST doesn’t necessarily mean shake-up with the current BOST elements. If you have been in BOST before and for some reasons your actions and inaction have brought us to where we are, you must expect that shakeup to affect you,” he added.
BOST has been in the news for several reasons with the recent one being 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 in 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 last Friday.
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.
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 impropriety.
Executive Director of COPEC, Duncan Amoah
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 George Mensah Oakley was named as the new MD.