OccupyGhana chases Energy Minister for full report on BOST contaminated fuel saga

By: George Nyavor | myjoyonline.com

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, is demanding a full report of the Ministerial Committee that probed the sale of contaminated fuel at the Bulk Oil Storage & Transportation Company (BOST) in 2017.

“A Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) report at that time prematurely absolved several key players of wrongdoing in the matter. That report was quite deficient in several, material ways and left so many questions unanswered that it was difficult to agree with several of its opinions and conclusions,” the letter addressed to Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, stated.

The saga

News that five million litres of contaminated fuel was sold off by BOST to two unlicensed companies – Zup Oil and Movenpiinavalued at millions of Ghana cedis sparked a public furore.

The fuel is reportedly useful for some ‘operational purposes’.

The off-spec products are used by the steel, garment, petrochemical companies to run their machinery. It can also be used as a mixture for asphalt and turpentine to prevent decay of wood.

Amid speculations of underhand dealings, the story died with after the BNI and NPA cleared top officials at BOST of any wrongdoing.

Read the full letter to the Energy Minister from OccupyGhana below.

REQUEST FOR THE REPORT OF THE MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE THAT INVESTIGATED ALL SALES OF ALLEGEDLY CONTAMINATED PRODUCTS BY BOST

Over a year ago, alleged illegal sales of contaminated fuels by the Bulk Oil Storage & Transportation Company Ltd. (BOST), a company owned by the Republic of Ghana, led to a public outcry of irregularities at the said company.

A Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) report at that time prematurely absolved several key players of wrongdoing in the matter. That report was quite deficient in several, material ways and left so many questions unanswered that it was difficult to agree with several of its opinions and conclusions.

We, therefore, felt at the time that a detailed investigation was necessary to answer several important questions. Some of the questions were:

1. Who purchased and imported the product into Ghana, and from whom?

2. How much was paid for it?

3. Who was in charge of holding or storing the product until it was sold or otherwise disposed of?

4. Under what circumstances and under whose control did the product become “contaminated”?

5. Exactly how did the “contamination” happen?

6. Exactly when did the “contamination” happen and/or when was it discovered?

7. Was the product “contaminated” through negligence, criminal activity or any other illegal or wrongful act, and if so, who was responsible for it?

8. Were there any remedial measures that could have been taken to “un-contaminate” or purify the product apart from selling it in the “contaminated” state, and if so were those measures feasible?

9. Did BOST obtain the technical report that is a mandatory requirement for disposal of property under section 83(1) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), and if so, who prepared that report and what did it say?

10. Did BOST convene a Board of Survey to report on the product, and if so, did that Board recommend the best method of disposal of the product?

11. Did the relevant BOST officer complete a Board of Survey Form, and if so, what did the Form say?

12. Were the Board of Survey’s recommendations, if any, approved by the head of BOST, and if so, when?

13. If the cause of the “contamination” was other than “wear and tear” (to the extent that this term may even be applicable to the product in question), what procedure was established by the Board of Survey for handling any losses, and to what extent was that procedure followed before the product was disposed of?

14. Did the disposal of the product comply with the relevant portions of section 84 of Act 663, particularly by public tender to the highest bidder or by public auction, each being subject to reserve price?

15. Which entities submitted bids or participated in the auction, and how much did each bid?

16. Was due diligence conducted on those entities to, at the very least, ascertain (i) if they had been duly formed or incorporated, (ii) who were the human players behind those entities, and (iii) whether the entities are duly registered by the National Petroleum Authority to engage in that business?

17. Was the Board of Directors of BOST involved in this transaction at all, and if so what do the relevant Board minutes say?

18. If any of the provisions and procedures under Part VII of Act 663 were not followed, what steps are being taken to exact the civil and criminal sanctions prescribed by that Act for its breach?

19. Has Ghana suffered any financial loss from this transaction, and if so, are there grounds to charge anyone with the offence of “causing financial loss”?

We at OccupyGhana®, like most Ghanaians, were thus happy when a ministerial committee was formed to investigate matters and issues arising from the sale of these fuels at BOST. It has been more than year now and OccupyGhana® want to know if the committee is done with its investigations and if so, we demand a copy of the report of that committee.

In light of accusations of petroleum product smuggling, re-export and pre-mix dumping, unlawful profiteering, tax evasion and financial reporting inconsistencies at BOST in the last CBOD report, it behoves the government in the interest of good governance and transparency to get to the bottom of any irregularity that plagues this company. If the committee is still at work, we will appreciate information about when their mandate ends so that we can look forward to studying their findings.

We hope you can work with us on this issue for God and Country.

Kwaku D. Segbefia,

For: OccupyGhana

Cc:

1. Office of the President

Jubilee House

Accra

2. The Speaker

Parliament of Ghana

Accra

3. The Special Prosecutor

Office of the Special Prosecutor

Accra

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