The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers –Ghana (COPEC) has declared a General Manager in charge of Maintenance at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) as a visible criminal who should be arrested and prosecuted immediately for asset theft.
In a statement released yesterday and copied to The Republic, the General Manager in question, whose name is not readily available, is alleged to have acted together with some collaborators to stockpile and sell off some TOR assets as scrap.
According to the statement which was signed by Duncan Amoah, Executive Secretary of COPEC-Ghana, the theft of the assets is latest in episodic looting that has been culturalized at the state refinery.
“The latest of such acts of fraud and naked stealing happened to have taken place exactly two weeks ago when the General Manager responsible for Maintenance is believed to have stockpiled some scraps together with some other valuable pieces including air cooler tube bundle, has been sold without any recourse to accountability nor a bidding process with the proceeds from the sale on same shared without a penny to the refinery itself.”
COPEC made a clarion call on state investigative bodies including the BNI, EOCO and the Police CID to quickly arrest the General Manager involved along with his accomplices and subject them to investigation.
It acknowledged that a committee has already been set up to look into the matter but expressed worry that committees set up in the past have only turned out to be fanciful nine day wonders, hence the need for the investigative bodies to step in.
Livid in tone, the COPEC-Ghana statement lamented that a culture of corruption at TOR has contributed to the under performance of the refinery and high fuel prices in the country.
“The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has been out of production for the entire 2017 year and the reasons are pretty uncertain though it was plagued by an unfortunate fire in the month of January 2017.
“Management has since then been busy on undertaking maintenance and retooling on the plant for all this while with a promise to resume production before the end of the year but that remains largely to be seen as of today, with barely two weeks to the end of the year.
“The January fire which caused some damage to some of the boilers was expected to be fixed in 3months but production has still not been achieved only for some crooks at the refinery to steal and sell some of these same equipments which is currently under investigations with a committee put in place to produce a report on the matter.
“The cost of an air cooler tube bundle which is estimated to be around $400,000.00 or Gh 1,840,000.00 together with other valuable parts are believed to have been sold and shared between these crooks with nothing back to the refinery.
“The 45,000 bpd capacity refinery has been through various challenges with most of it purely man made to see the refinery grounded though Ghanaians continue to pay for these acts of negligence and corruption.
“These actions have often times resulted in huge debts and losses to the refinery which the unsuspecting Ghanaian has had to pay for, the consumer since the year 2004 has been saddled with a 3p/ litre levy to defray some of these man made debts at the refinery but the debts strangely continue to rise by the day.”
It said series of documented and well known acts of corruption have been recorded over the years but the ring of criminals who are culpable have only gotten away with their crimes. The same criminals, it said, continue to perpetrate all manner of corruption on the ailing refinery.
“A committee has subsequently been set up to look into this fraudulent act but is most likely these crooks will escape any real punishment if allowed to be treated as business as usual as has often been the case,” the statement said.
While the committee works to unravel the issues surrounding the theft therefore, it called on the state investigative agencies to step in; a call that is clearly indicative of COPEC-Ghana’s lack of trust in the committee.
It named the committee members as; Mr. Prince OFosu-Adjei-Chairman, Mrs. Emelia Aba Larbi-Member, Ms. Ekua Hanson-Member/Secretary, Mr. Bright Adongo- UNICOF Rep/Member and Mr. Eric Nketiah-Nimako-GTPCWU Rep/Member.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Saul Paul