The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), says it will by close of day today [Monday], petition the office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate allegations of a shady crude oil transaction between the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) and an unlicensed private oil firm, BB Energy.
Speaking at a Press conference in Accra, the Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, said the deal, which cost the country a revenue loss of GHc30 million through the sale of 1.8 million barrels of crude oil to BB Energy, was avoidable.[contextly_sidebar id=”VPRA0C8gAs3tR5ZyTHuiN8GpQUfcZ5ww”]“These were avoidable losses, completely avoidable and we have said that these monies could have come to the state. BOST would need to come again. All they’ve tried to do are gymnastics…and that is the more reason we have decided as a chamber to pursue this matter to the logical conclusion through the Special Prosecutor’s office. A lot of questions remain unanswered. We released a single report and BOST have had to somersault seven times in one week,” he added. [contextly_sidebar id=”VPRA0C8gAs3tR5ZyTHuiN8GpQUfcZ5ww”]Duncan Amoah last week accused BOST of causing financial loss to the state over the alleged sale of crude to BB Energy below the international market price.
The Managing Director of BOST, Obeng Boateng, however rubbished the claims and described them as false and baseless.
Mr. Obeng Boateng said Duncan Amoah was simply an “enemy to the progress” and should “be ignored at all times.”
But the COPEC Executive Director at the press conference said he stands by his claims.
“It is not surprising that BB Energy wrote two months after the shameful purchase of the crude from BOST for license from the NPA which was declined. Our checks further indicate that BB Energy as of today is still paying for the crude. They have not finished paying six months after the transaction. What we gather further is that when TOR processes the crude, BB Energy picks and makes payments to BOST. So like we’ve said earlier, what really changed is the ownership and giving of the product to BB Energy. Nothing useful, nothing purposeful, no gain ever came to Ghana as far as that crude is concerned.”
“When BOST engages in these inefficient transactions that leave BOST with huge debts, it is not the BOST managing Director or anyone at BOST that is paying for it. It is the average Ghanaian who will be asked at a later day to pay it. As we speak, BOST is reeling under a debt of almost GHc900 million,” Duncan Amoah added.
Energy committee to probe BOST
The Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament had already waded into the latest controversy saying it will probe the matter.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, Emmanuel Akwasi Gyamfi, BOST and other interested parties in the matter will be engaged to better inform the Committee on how to deal with the issue.
“We engaged BOST before this issue came up, and we were scheduled to meet them again when this issue came up. We want to take our time and meet them and do proper due diligence; we have to get the necessary documentation so that we can reach an informed decision,” he said.
BOST MD sues Duncan Amoah
Alfred Obeng Boateng, has subsequently sued Duncan Amoah demanding GHc5 million in damages.
According to Mr. Obeng Boateng, Mr. Amoah made a false claim when he suggested that he [ Alfred Obeng Boateng] through his agents, had threatened to take his life, following the fresh allegations of financial malfeasance he levelled against him and the BOST.
2017 contaminated fuel scandal
In 2017, BOST was widely criticized for selling 5 million litres of contaminated fuel to two unlicensed companies, Movenpinaa and Zup Oil, which were allegedly set up a few days before the sale, costing Ghana about GHc 7 million in revenue.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) also confirmed that the two companies alleged to have purchased the over 5 million litres of contaminated fuel under suspicious circumstances from BOST were not licensed.
According to the NPA, it was going to take legal action against the firms, while it conducted further investigations.
The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, also set up an investigative committee to look into the matter, which eventually cleared BOST and its Managing Director, Alfred Obeng Boateng of wrongdoing, citing a Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and National Security reports.
There were however calls to initiate fresh investigations into the matter amid discontent from the Minority in Parliament and some Civil Society groups.
As a result of the scandal, the Energy Minister stated that private firms were no longer allowed to lift contaminated oil from BOST as part of interim measures to prevent the supply of contaminated fuel onto the Market.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana