The Minority Caucus in Ghana’s Parliament has called on the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) to immediately withdraw contaminated fuels from the market to protect consumers and to also stop further sale of such defective products to the public.
They said they have received information that these contaminated fuels which were originally meant for industrial usage have found their way into open market and vehicle engines, contrary to directives of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA’s). They added that the resultant effect will be damage to vehicle engines and its accompanying side effects to the innocent Ghanaian consumer.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, a ranking member of the Committee on Mines and Energy, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, said that the Minority has noted with grave concern the sale of five million litres of contaminated fuel products to a company known as Movenpiina by the Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Limited, Alfred Obeng Boateng, under very dubious and bizarre circumstances in another clear example of escalating corruption in the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Government.
He also said that even more disturbing is the explanation offered by BOST to justify the sale of this contaminated product as well as the circumstances surrounding the sale which clearly lacks transparency and integrity, stressing that under proper regulatory and supervisory protocols, BOST Should not experience such high levels of contamination as is being witnessed.
‘The question to ask is what led to the contamination of these products in the first instance. Why the particular tank in question was not properly discharged and cleaned before the intake of the fresh fuel which led to the contamination? Was it due to negligence, lack of supervision or a deliberate plot by some self-seeking individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of the state and the Ghanaian tax payer?’, he asked.
The Minority further indicated that the justification by BOST that the contaminated products were sold for use by manufacturing companies is untenable, adding that the norm and practice is that when such contamination occurs, corrective treatment of these products are undertaken by the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) through blending. They asked why BOST did not arrange with TOR for the treatment of this particular fuel, adding that available information indicates that BOST failed to exhaust all means to ensure TOR blends this contaminated fuel. The argument by BOST that the blending couldn’t be done at TOR because the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) was down, according to the Minority, was most untenable.
Hon. Armah Kofi Buah also said that these so called off-spec products are not the slops that are usually sold by BOST, stating that slops are usually in small quantities. He explained that slops are sediments of fuels in a Tank and are usually in small quantities and cannot be compared with 5 million liters of contaminated fuel.
‘The claim by BOST that this contaminated product was sold at a competitive ex-depot price is false and cannot be justified. When was the competitive bidding process initiated and who were the companies that participated? Incontrovertible evidence available confirms that Movenpiina Company was the only company BOST dealt with in the sale of this contaminated product in a sole sourced transaction. It is, therefore, erroneous to suggest that the sale was done under a competitive process’, he stated.
He alleged that further information available to the Minority indicates that Movenpiina Co. Ltd. put in a proposal to purchase the fuel on the 19th of May 2017, adding that checks from the Registrar Generals Department suggest the company was incorporated to trade and transport fuel on the 29th of May 2017. This, he claims, suggests collusion on the part of the actors. He also said that information available before them indicates the Managing Director took a decision to grant Movenpiina Co. an Open-Credit sales arrangement against all the advice from his own staff, stating that this means that the company bought the products without paying for it and in turn sold the products to a third-party Company, Zupoil, at 30% higher, adding that this smacks of high level corruption. He alleged that their checks reveal that the contact number on Movenpiina is the same number of the BOST MD’s private office in Airport Residential Area.
The Minority also alleged that the gentleman who registered the Company, one Nana Poku Agyemang, a generator dealer is a close associate of the MD and they have been doing business together before the MD was appointed to BOST, adding that they have also noted with trepidation the revelation that the said Movenpiina Company is currently a Bulk Oil Transporter at BOST carrying huge petroleum products across the Country when they are not registered. They contended this is not only illegal, but also extremely risky because when those products are lost, it will be at the cost of the tax payer as there is no insurance covering the said contract.
‘The Minority will want to place on record that further checks reveal that, BOST has never sold any contaminated products before. They always blend the products to correct it to meet industry specifications as outlined by NPA and Ghana Standard Authority. What BOST has sold in the past is slop and not contaminated products. As we speak BOST imported a full cargo declared by NPA as off-Spec. The Company that brought in the product is called Morco Energy. That product is currently being blended at TOR to correct it. We wonder why the 5million litres didn’t go through the same process to correct it. We demand the immediate interdiction of the BOST MD, Mr. Alfred Obeng Boateng, full scale investigation by the regulatory authorities, the immediate withdrawal of the contaminated product from the market to protect consumers and assurances that this will not recur and that the financial loss estimated at GH ¢ 14.25 million be retrieved by surcharging the offending officials at BOST in line with the recent Supreme Court decision’, they said.