…As Energy Minister lies big time

…As BNI/NSS foul up, lick embattled MD’s boots

An expected attempt by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to explain away the questionable sale of 5million litres of contaminated fuel by BOST, in order to rebound from the corruption scandal, came off yesterday.

However, the Akufo-Addo administration, in staging what appears to be the closing act to a dress rehearsal, lied massively into the bargain.

According to Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, Alfred Obeng Boateng, the current managing director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST), is to be commended because he got Movenpiina to buy the 5million litres of contaminated fuel at GHc1.30p.

This price, according to the minister, is in spite of the fact that Mr. Obeng Boateng’s predecessor, Kwame Awuah Darko, had similarly sold contaminated fuel at GHc1 per litre.

“Among the fifteen companies that expressed interest, Movenpiina price was the highest. Its initial price was GHS 0.90 per liter as the highest followed by Nation Links Oil which quoted GHS 0.80 per liter. Despite these quotations, BOST pushed Movenpiina to pay GHS1.30 per liter which is the highest BOST has ever sold contamination products. The highest that was sold under the previous administration headed by Kwame Awuah Darko was GHS 1.00 per liter.”

The claim about Kwame Awuah Darko, however, is the alternative fact, as the records show that Mr. Awuah Darko never sold contaminated fuel during his tenure as BOST MD.

Kwame Awuah Darko had only sold SLOP.

The difference between SLOP and contaminated fuel is that SLOP is an admixture of sediments, water and other impurities that settle at the bottom of fuel tanks on storage, while contaminated fuel is a mixture of two fuel varieties, such as petrol and diesel.

The records show that throughout the period that Kwame Awuah Darko was BOST MD, fuel contamination had happened only once, on December 24, 2013, three months after Mr. Awuah Darko had become MD.

Unlike the embattled Alfred Obeng Boateng, who has sold this 5million litres to an alleged crony company, Mr. Awuah Darko had further blended the fuel contaminated under his tenure until the contamination had been corrected. He had then moved on to sell the re-blended fuel at the prevailing market price.

Under Alfred Obeng Boateng’s predecessor, only SLOP had been sold by BOST.

According to the records, a total of 450,000 litres of SLOP had been sold from October 2013 to December 2015 and the sale had been done quarterly from SLOP tanks. The records show that the sale usually occurred when tanks of BOST needed to be cleaned.

All companies which had bought SLOP products were required to present certificates from the NPA and EPA, along with Customs stamps as conditions precedent.

The companies paid cash into BOST accounts and such payments were confirmed by BOST officials before loading. SLOP was also sold at the prevailing market price and not a flat price of ghc1. At a point slop was even sold at ghc1.50p.

The contrast with Alfred Obeng is that he has not sold SLOP, but sold contaminated fuel, at a flat rate of Ghc1, to an unregistered company that is linked to himself and has since lied that the NPA approved of the sale.

However, the Energy Minister’s attempt to cast Kwame Awuah Darko in the character of Alfred Obeng Boateng in the matter of contaminated fuel sale was a climax to a choreography that had started with National Security and the Bureau of National Investigation.

A report from a joint investigation by the two bodies into the scandal, shockingly, gave worshipful praise to the embattled MD that they were investigating.

“The product contamination occurred on January 18, 2017 and the MD for BOST assumed office on January 23, 2017 and cannot be held responsible for it.

“As a competent MD, he interdicted the officers involved and set up a six-member committee chaired by the Head of Internal Audit Department, Mr. Edmund Aquah, on February 8, 2017 to find out the causes of the contamination,” the report stated.

Interestingly, nobody has really made the contamination of the fuel an issue, but the alleged questionable sale of the product as SLOP. Also, how the supposed interdiction of people who are suspected of the contamination and the setting up of a committee to investigate the issue, is a mark of competence on the part of the MD, has left many wondering what the motivation for the BNI and NSS praise-singing is.

The report goes on to contradict itself on the nature of the 5million litres of fuel involved, stating that after the fuel contamination, the NPA had advised BOST to sell it off, and that the NPA has never licensed any company to sell petroleum waste.

“A laboratory test from TOR and technical recommendation made by the General Manager, Terminal, Fred Ayarkwa, indicated that out of the options available, selling the product for industrial purposes such as asphalt processing, texture and cement manufacturing was the best. This option was recommended to the MD because TOR is not refining currently and the laboratory result clearly stated that treating it would not give the required quality of AGO (Diesel),” the report in part says.

And then it states elsewhere that, ‘the NPA has never licensed any company to sell petroleum waste.’

The fact is that, contaminated fuel is not the same as petroleum waste! Contaminated fuel is a mixture, usually accidentally, of two or more refinery extractives of petroleum, such as petrol and diesel.

‘Petroleum waste’ comprises impurities from refined petroleum products, such as SLOP.

The report had also set the tone for the Energy Minister’s lie that former MD of BOST, Kwame Awuah Darko, had sold contaminated fuel.

“Among the fifteen companies that expressed interest, Movenpiina price was the highest. Its initial price was GHS 0.90 per liter as the highest followed by Nation Links Oil which quoted GHS 0.80 per liter. Despite these quotations, BOST pushed Movenpiina to pay GHS1.30 per liter which is the highest BOST has ever sold contamination products. The highest that was sold under the previous administration headed by Kwame Awuah Darko was GHS 1.00 per liter.”

However, it has long been explained in the media that Kwame Awuah Darko never sold contaminated fuel but SLOP.

On the matter of Alfred Obeng Boateng’s connection with Movenpiina Energy, the NSS/BNI report dismissed the connection and possible cronyism, stating that the private office of the BOST MD and that of Movenpiina are not at the same location.

According to the report, the private office of the BOST MD is at the Airport Residential Area, while Movenpiina’s registered address is at East Legon with its operational office located at Awudome. The telephone number of the company too is different from that of the BOST MD.

Mr. Alfred Obeng Boateng is neither a director nor a shareholder of Movenpiina, according to documents at the Registrar General’s Department, hence, the investigators “could not see any link between BOST MD and Movenpiina.

Strangely, the report did not list the telephone number in question which is said to lead to the private office of Alfred Obeng Boateng when it is dialed, even though it is on the official letterhead of the Movenpiina.

Again, the NSS/BNI report did not address the alleged link between Alfred Obeng and Nana Poku Agyemang, the man who is said to have belatedly incorporated Movenpiina after getting the contract to sell the 5million litres of fuel.

Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu, has said that Nana Poku Agyemang is a longstanding business partner of Alfred Obeng Boateng.

Neither did the report thrash out the fact that Movenpiina had gotten the fuel at open credit. According to the issues, the ghc1.30p per litre price that Movenpiina is supposed to have gotten the contaminated fuel was not paid to BOST upfront as is the usual practice. Movenpiina had the luxury to go and sell the consignment and pay later making it opportune for Movenpiina to make profit without investing a pesewa.

The report’s further statement, that per the company law, a company can transact business before incorporation, so-called “pre-incorporation activities,” subject to ratification by the Board of Directors of the company, has left the NSS and the BNI looking very dubious.

This is because the petroleum sector is a highly specialized sector which is supposed to be bereft of white collar antics of the general corporate environment, like, “pre-incorporation.” This is why the specialized petroleum law which governs operations in the sector in Ghana mandates that operators in the downstream get licenses from the NPA and even the EPA.

Interestingly, the report was silent on the allegation that some of the contaminated fuel has already hit the market. Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), a civil society group and watchdog of the petroleum sector, has stated that some of its own staff members have bought contaminated fuel from the market.

Also, the Daily Nation, a Kenyan newspaper, has reported that international airline operators have been warned not to refuel their planes in Ghana because of the contamination.

Yet, on the basis of what is seen as a flawed NSS/BNI investigation, the BNI is recommending that an eight-member investigative committee that the Energy Minister had put up to look into the scandal should be dissolved.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has already stated its distrust for the BNI report.

“There is a very bizarre and uncharacteristic developments in our country today that we are being told that the BNI is acting in a manner that we don’t only smell, but we can sense a cover up in respect of the matter of the selling of contaminated oil by BOST which matter bothers on fraud, corruption and abuse of office,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu stated at a press conference yesterday.

The Minority have vowed to dig into the matter until the truth is established.



Source: Samuels



The Republic News Online

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