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The Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST), Mr Alfred Obeng Boateng has been cleared of any wrong doing by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the National Security in the sale of five million litres of contaminated fuel. This action by the two state security outfits has received massive condemnation across the country with some civil society organisations threatening legal action against the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), BOST, The MD and the security agencies if the decision is not reversed for proper investigation to take place.
The sector Minister Mr Boakye Agyarko who had earlier constituted a body to investigate the matter, announced at a press conference in Accra on the 4th of July that a joint investigations conducted by the BNI and National Security, found nothing wrong with the decision to sell the contaminated fuel to Movenpiina Company Limited.
According to the Minister, sale of contaminated fuel to unlicensed companies is an acceptable practice. The Minister also disclosed that the investigation conducted by the two bodies established that there is no direct relationship between Mr Alfred Obeng and Movenpiina.
The BNI is gradually losing its credibility because of its sharp departure from its Intel duty. It is now seen as an organ of state bureaucracy rather than an independent and unbiased entity of national justice. Unfortunately for the BNI, this era of internet information continue to be unkind to its reputation. Society is monitoring activities of its operatives and making informed judgments. The state Intel agency now resembles agencies of oppression and the latest disaster confirms this perception people hold of the once respected state agency.
The agency is protecting the most powerful of Ghanaian citizen and his cronies and the BNI will have to battle for decades the ramifications of this public perception. It can get away with many things but not with being seen as less than evenhanded. The reasons presented as reasons for clearing the man of wrong doing are childish and unconvincing.
The reasons adduced sharply and the minister’s own additions,undermine the authority of the NPA…
The NPA assured the public that it will take legal action against the firms, whiles it conducts further investigation to determine the actual quantity of the products received at the facility of Zup oil. The Authority further announced that it has noted that, Movenpiina Energy and Zup oil are not licensed to undertake any commercial activity in the downstream petroleum industry. Their activities according to the NPA, infringed on section 11 of the NPA Act ACT 691,2005. The Minister in defended and espoused same position when the matter came up only to shift from his earlier position after pressure was mounted on him from the presidency. Addressing the media at a news conference, the Minister said the practice of selling contaminated fuel to unlicensed companies is legal. This sharply contradicts the NPA’S position on the matter. Meanwhile the NPA still stand by its earlier position and has strongly dismissed the minister’s position on how the agency handles contaminated fuel. According to the NPA, contaminated fuel are blended before they are sold to specific companies who use the product to power their machines.
THE CRIMINAL ASPECT
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and other stakeholders called on the MD of BOST to step aside for full scale investigation into the sale of the contaminsted fuel. According to ACEP, the Ghana was to lose about 7m ghc over the sale of the contaminated fuel. Others called on government to conduct full scale investigation into the deal to establish the validity or otherwise of the transaction and provide sanction to those found to have misconducted themselves. Other names started coming up including top officials at the Presidency. The matter generated tension in the ruling party and at the seat of government.Others linked it to nurturing of Presidential ambitions in the party. Others attacked the sector minister for constituting a team to investigate the matter, a daughter of the President has been mentioned as the main person behind Movenpiina with Mr Alfred Obeng Boateng acting as her main partner. According to the NPA, Movenpiina and Zup oil operated illegally and further checks confirmed that other companies apart from Movenpiina and ZUPOIL were involved in the deal. As,at 12th May, Movenpiina had started uplifting oil from BOST without paying BOST a pesewa.
If what the minister said about contaminated fuel disposal turns to be untrue,then he must resign immediately. He swore before Ghanaians he will conduct himself well in office. The President must act decisively if the NPA comes out with anything which contradicts what the minister told Ghanaians. The other issue is the sale of the contaminated product to consumers which infringes on our laws on sale of expired and substandard products to consumers. I am not sure the NPA supports sale of contaminated fuel to be used for our vehicles because of the obvious consequences. According to NPA, it had to use tracking devices to stop the contaminated fuel from being sold to vehicle users. This means the MD and his agents deliberately sold the product for use by consumers without weighing the potential dangers. This is a criminal act and all those involved must be made to face prosecution.
intents and motives cannot be swept away when handling such sensitive issues. Mr Kennedy Agyepong a known financier of the Npp,a leading member of the Npp and MP for Assin Central joined the internal feud and vehemently attacked the sector minister for instituting investigation into the matter. According to the MP, the MD, Mr Alfred Obeng was one of the financiers of the party in the 2016 campaign and new position was in recognition for the support he offered the party. He said, the MD paid millions of Cedis to him personally as part of his contribution toward the npp campaign. The MP warned the party and government that he will tell the world how the NPP won the election if Alfred was removed from his current position. According to my source, Mr Alfred Obeng paid an amount of $300,000 quarterly into the personal account of Nana Addo from 2012. According to Mr Agyepong, over 800 oil marketing companies have already been formed by persons close to the President so doesn’t understand why persons who financially supported the party be denied the opportunity of benefiting from their support.
Ghanaians, including civil organisations and some leading members of the ruling party have vehemently condemned the deal and have called on government to open an independent investigation into the matter. According to Mr Asamoah Gyamfi a senior communicator of the NPP, Nana Addo’s corruption fight will suffer serious bruises if the matter is not handled the way society is demanding. According the the senior communicator, the deal will seriously dent the image of the President who campaigned on corruption free government if he fails to act decisively on it. Rev Owusu Owuahene of Christ Resurrection Assembly, described the deal as evil and wicked and called on the President to protect his image by sacking the MD and put him before the court. Prof Addai formerly of GIMPA also called for full scale investigation. On social media, the matter is still dominating discussions on various social media platforms.
THE EQUALISATION POLITICS
Hardliner on the side of the ruling government are accusing the NDC that the last administration also sold contaminated fuel to the public. The NPA has so far debunked the story.According to the NPA, sale of offspecs is not criminal but it has a way of blending contaminated fuel and specific companies it sells the products to. Contrary to the distorted facts being peddled around by apparatchiks of the ruling party, President Mahama initiated investigations into activities at BOST when he got hint of corruption at the place. The former President contracted Ernst and Young, a renowned international accounting firm to institute full scale investigation into activities at BOST. A comprehensive audit report was presented to the President who acted decisively on it. The MD was replaced and we all saw the improvement at the place.
Before I come out with certain sensitive facts, I will advise the BNI and the sector Minister to immediately apologise to the good people of this great nation for insulting us through that press conference. The President must cut off all the political strings and act decisively on the issue before he is forced by civil organisations to act. Those who rushed to the MD’s office to force him rescind his decision to resign, better stay off and allow the man to act instinctively
Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow