Amidu asks for more details on BOST ‘scandals’

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Martin Amidu

The Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, has requested for further and better details on the various allegations of fraud and financial impropriety levelled against the Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) Company, Mr Alfred Obeng, by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC).

He has also asked Mr Obeng to stand in readiness to answer charges on the several allegations of administrative and financial improprieties.

The request from the Special Prosecutor was contained in a letter dated April 11, 2018 to COPEC copied to Mr Obeng which was sighted by the Daily Graphic.

“Kindly hold yourself in readiness to provide any further and better particulars of your complaint should it be required. I am also, by a copy of this letter, informing the management about the pendency of your petition,” the letter indicated.

The chamber, in March this year, petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate what the chamber considered a questionable crude oil transaction between BOST and two unlicensed private oil firms, BB Energy and AOT.

“I have carefully read your petition and directed that it be brought up to the appropriate division for further action as soon as it is established,” the letter from the Special Prosecutor said.

Sources say the Special Prosecutor has been tasked to investigate the alleged sale of some 1.8 million barrels of crude oil by BOST to two unlicensed oil companies at discounted prices, the sale of five million litres of contaminated fuel to Movenpiina, a company said to have been incorporated barely a month after it negotiated the deal with BOST, and without a licence from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and allegations of fuel diversion.

Unlicensed companies

When news of the controversial sale of contaminated fuel products by BOST to Movenpiina, an unlicensed oil marketing company, broke, it was alleged that the state entity had engaged in similar transactions in the last two years.

Documents available suggest that between March 5, 2015 and November 30, 2016, BOST sold millions of litres of contaminated fuel to 36 entities and individuals who did not have any official licence from the NPA.

The company has of late come under fire over a series of allegations that border on financial impropriety and illegal sale of crude oil.

The Executive Secretary of COPEC, Mr Duncan Amoah, called on the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate the sale and sanction those found culpable in the purported illegality, which cost the country huge sums of money.

He said the sale of the product, which was in storage facilities at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), to BB Energy at discounted prices under free-on-board (FOB) arrangements amounted to fraud.

BOST had stated that it sold some 942,000 barrels of the said crude oil at an average discount of $5 per barrel, thereby saving the country a loss of $3 per barrel.

Fuel diversion

On fuel diversion, COPEC wants the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the NPA to undertake immediate audit of all the liftings done and punish culprits who will be found to have diverted premix fuel.

COPEC’s call comes on the heels of the diversion of over 200 trucks of premix products meant for fishermen in fishing communities across the country.

Loaded premix

COPEC, in a statement signed by Mr Amoah, charged the NPA to carry out an assessment to determine the destination of the over 200 trucks that loaded premix products and were suspected to have diverted them.

“It is our belief that the whole premix arrangement needs a complete review and overhaul. The current system in practice is simply prone to such corrupt diversions and re-trading, as the difference in real market price and how much we subsidise makes lucrative business for those in the supply chain,” it added.

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