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Contaminated fuel: Minority wants BOST MD Interdicted

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru

The Minority in Parliament has accused the Managing Director (MD) of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Limited (BOST), Mr Alfred Obeng Boateng, of causing a financial loss of GHc14.25million loss to the state through the contamination of five million litres of petrol and the subsequent sale of the product to a private company.

It has, therefore, called for the interdiction of Mr Obeng Boateng and a full scale investigation into the deal.

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Speaking at a press conference in Accra Tuesday , the Minority Spokesperson on energy, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, said the minority in Parliament had noted with grave concern the sale of contaminated fuel product to the tune of five million litres to a company known as Movenpiina by the MD of BOST "under very dubious and bizarre circumstances in another clear example of escalating corruption in the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Government."

He said even more disturbing was the explanation offered by BOST to justify the sale of this contaminated product as well as the circumstances surrounding the sale which clearly lacked transparency and integrity.

Mr Buah said petrol was sold at GH3.85 but BOST sold the contaminated product on credit at GHc1 to the private company, Movenpiina Company Limited, which in turn sold it at GHc1.30.

He said the accumulated loss to state was in the region of GHc14.25million.

Other demands

Mr Buah said the financial loss estimated at GHc4.25 million be retrieved by surcharging the offending officials at BOST in line with the recent Supreme Court decision.

He called for immediate withdrawal of the contaminated product from the market to protect consumers and assurances that would not recur.

Level of contamination

Mr Buah said under proper regulatory and supervisory protocols, under no circumstance should such high levels of contamination be experienced as the country was currently witnessing.

"The question to ask is what led to the contamination of these products in the first instance. Why was the particular tank in question not properly discharged and cleaned before the intake of the fresh fuel which led to the contamination? Was it due to negligence, lack of supervision or a deliberate plot by some self-seeking individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of the state and the Ghanaian tax payer", he queried.

Mr Buah said the justification by BOST that the contaminated products were sold for use by manufacturing companies was untenable.

He said the norm and practice was that when such contamination occurred, corrective treatment of these products were undertaken by the Tema Oil Refinery through blending.

He, therefore, wondered why did BOST not arrange with TOR for the treatment of this particular fuel, and indicated available information indicated that BOST failed to exhaust all means to ensure TOR blends this contaminated fuel.

"The argument by BOST that the blending couldn’t be done at TOR because the CDU is down is most untenable", he said.

No competitive bidding

Mr Buah said the claim by BOST that the contaminated product was sold at a competitive ex-depot price was false and could not be justified.

He said incontrovertible evidence available confirmed that Movenpiina Company was the only company BOST dealt with in the sale of this contaminated product in a sole sourced transaction.

"It is therefore erroneous to suggest that the sale was done under a competitive process", he said.

Mr Buah said further information available indicated that Movenpiina Co. Lt. put in a proposal to purchase the fuel on May 19, 2017.

Interestingly, he said, checks from the Registrar Generals Department suggested that the company was incorporated to trade and transport fuel on the May 29, 2017, which clearly suggested collusion on the part of the actors.

Open credit sale

Mr Buah said information available before indicated the MD took a decision to grant to Movenpiina Co. an Open-Credit sales arrangement against all the advice from his own staff.

That, he said, meant that the company bought the products without paying for it and in turn sold the products to a third-party Company Zupoil at 30 per cent higher.

"This smacks of high level corruption", he said.

Sale of contaminated product

Mr Buah said the Minority received information that the contaminated fuels which were originally meant for industrial usage by the steel, garment, petrol chemical as claimed by BOST by companies to run their machinery and certainly not for the running of vehicle engines had ended up in the open market against the National Petroleum Authority's (NPA’s) directive not to do so.

"The resultant effect will mean damage to vehicle engines and its accompanying side effects to the innocent Ghanaian consumer. Furthermore, our checks reveal that the contact number on Movenpiina is the same number of the BOST MD's private office in Airport Residential Area", he said.

Mr Buah claimed that the gentleman who registered the Company, one Nana Poku Agyemang, a generator dealer with a Company General Power is a close associate of the MD and they have been doing business together before the MD was appointed to BOST.

"The Minority has also noted with trepidation the revelation that the said Movenpiina Company is currently a Bulk Oil Transporter at BOST carrying huge petroleum products across the Country when they are not registered.

"This is not only illegal, it is also extremely risky because when those products are lost, it will be at the cost of the tax payer as there's no insurance covering the said contract", he said.