General News of Saturday, 8 December 2018
Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, has expressed surprise over allegations that management of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) have refused to appear before Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee since January 2017.
Ranking Member on the Committee, Adam Mutawakilu, on Thursday threatened to invoke the powers of the committee to subpoena the CEO of TOR, Isaac Osei, and management for disrespecting the committee.
Speaking to Citi News, Mr. Amewu said the CEO of TOR is an experienced former MP who cannot disregard the house in such a manner.
He, therefore, emphasized the need for Mr. Mutakwakilu’s claims to be probed to establish the truth.
“He has been a Member of Parliament, very experienced, so for me it will be surprising. But we can check from him and find out whether it is true. Knowing that he was a Member of Parliament, he knows the parliamentary rules, he’s very experienced person but of course we need to find out whether what the Minority is alleging is true.”
We’ll subpoena incompetent TOR officials – Mutawakilu
A Ranking Member of Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee, Adam Mutawakilu, has indicated that the Committee might subpoena management of the Tema Oil Refinery to appear before them, after the company ignored a number of invitations.
Speaking to Citi News, the Damongo Member of Parliament explained that as a state-owned company, TOR is required to appear before the Committee every year to brief the legislators on the state of its finances and its planned programmes for the year.
According to him, officials of TOR have ignored multiple invitations to appear before the committee since 2017, hence their consideration of an official summons.
“Tema Oil refinery as a state-owned enterprise under the energy sector is supposed to account to the Committee of Mines and Energy yearly, first on the programme of activities that they want to undertake for the year, mid-year review and any issue that comes up. This is quite worrying.
“TOR must know that whatever businesses they run is for the people of Ghana and we are the people’s representatives. As the Speaker’s Committee, we have the powers of a high court. Soon we have to subpoena them to appear before us so that we can look at their financials. Any debt accrued is the debt of the people. TOR has been very incompetent in the management and as a result, they don’t want anybody to have access.”
Earlier this year, then Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko at a conference in the United States, had indicated that government intends to turn TOR into a tank farm, ahead of the construction of a new refinery in the Western Region.
He disclosed that the government had prepared land in parts of the Western Region for investors interested in such venture to set up in a free zone enclave.
The Minority and some Civil Society Organisations kicked against this move, describing it as unfortunate.
Adam Mutawakilu believes this, coupled with claims that the company has accrued over $20 million dollars in debt, is the reason for TOR’s reluctance to appear before the Committee.
He added that the Committee had already extended two invitations to the Company this year, both of which have been ignored.
“In May 2018, the now former Energy Minister made it clear that TOR would be turned into a tank farm. I kicked against it. We invited TOR to get their stance but it fell on deaf ears. This was after they had refused to appear before the Committee for the whole of 2017 upon several invitations for them to appear. In 2018, after two invitations, they have declined to appear.
“Issues on social media and in the public domain are not good for TOR. Turning it into a tank farm wasn’t good and we kicked against it. They got 950 barrels of oil for production and we were told that they would start consecutive production and would not be shut down.
As we speak today, Tema Oil refinery is not producing. IES has come out with a statement, and I support it, that they have incurred over $24 million [debt] in respect to production because they have bought it at high prices and sold it at low prices. Even the pricing method they use is not the best. I believe it’s because of all these that TOR does not want to appear before the Committee since January 2017 upon several indications.”