The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) and the National Petroleum Authority have been dragged to court over the contaminated fuel saga.
The Managing Director of BOST, Alfred Obeng, Movenpinaa Energy, Zupoil and MacWest have all been joined to the suit filed by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa.
BOST had been widely lambasted for selling 5 million litres of contaminated fuel to two unlicensed companies, Movenpinaa and Zup Oil, which were allegedly set up few days before the sale, costing Ghana about GHc 7 million in revenue.[contextly_sidebar id=”GX6Bb3HGXDyv4xGdOkJqgsh0krdwOjY9″]The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko subsequently set up an investigative committee to look into the matter.
However, on Tuesday, the Energy Minister cleared BOST and its Managing Director, Alfred Obeng Boateng of wrongdoing citing a Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and National Security report.
“The investigations so far carried out by the state security agencies and the NPA show that on the basis of previous practice, there was no wrongdoing at BOST on the sale of the 5 million liters of contaminated products,” he added.
But several groups and individuals including the Minority in Parliament have accused the Energy Ministry of conniving with the BNI to cover up the scandal; a claim government had disputed.
The NGO in its writ argued that the entire transaction was “illegal,” “fraudulent” and with potential to cause financial loss to the State, and is therefore null and void and of no effect.”
It is however praying the court to declare the transaction between BOST, Movepinaa and Zup Oil as “illegal, unlawful and in clear violation of Section 16(2) (c) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003(Act 663) as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 914).”
The Network is also urging the court to declare the “decision to single source the sale of the contaminated fuel products to the 4th Defendant [Movepiina] by the 2nd Defendant [BOST] acting through the 3rd Defendant [BOST MD] is in clear contravention of Section 35 and 40(1) of Public Procurement Act, 2003, (Act 663) as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 914).”
“A declaration that the activities of the 4th and 5th Defendants in engaging in downstream petroleum activities without licenses is in violation of Section 11 of the National Petroleum Authority Act, 2005 (Act 691). An order of the Honourable Court setting aside the entire transaction on grounds of illegality and fraud,” the NGO added in the writ.
Investigate BOST scandal again – IMANI
Policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, has however called on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to initiate fresh investigations into the matter to prove his commitment towards fighting corruption.
According to IMANI, the report by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) clearing BOST of any wrongdoing as announced by the Minister of Energy, is not only baffling but “juvenile” and “delinquent.”
“This whole mockery of governance can be made clean again by a singular act of the President for fresh inquiry into the activities of BOST in the last 8 years, and all persons liable for fuel fraud to be held accountable. But we want immediate answers to the present fraud. It is simply early in the day for a new government with boundless optimism,” a statement signed by President of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe stated.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana