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07 July 2017

In defence of BOST boss: Workers declare ‘war’ after contaminating fuel

Workers of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) have mounted a spirited defence for their embattled boss who has been accused of fraud in the ongoing oil contamination saga.

In a move that will surprise many, the workers claim the recent oil contamination saga has been blown completely out of proportion, insisting the Managing Director Alfred Obeng has done nothing wrong in selling off the contaminated fuel at a competitive price.

At a press conference in Tema, Chairman of the Unionized workers Godfred Newton Amu said this is not the first time oil has been contaminated at BOST.

Chronicling a history of oil contamination in an institution that is supposed to be storing Ghana’s unadulterated fuel, Mr Newton said in 2014, 2015 and 2016 there were massive cases of oil contamination, adding the prices at which the current MD has sold the contaminated fuel is higher and competitive than under the previous regime.

Over 5 million liters of fuel has been contaminated in the latest string of oil contamination at BOST.

Alfred Obeng

Under the current Managing Director at BOST Alfred Obeng, the contaminated fuel was sold to a new company Movenpiina at a price of 1.30 pesewas.

Movenpiina then sold the contaminated oil it bought to another company ZupOil. According to the National Petroleum Authority, both companies are unlicensed.

The Minority waded in the controversy, describing the whole transaction as corrupt.

At a press conference, the Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah said the whole transaction is tainted with fraud.

The Minority did not understand why BOST must sell the contaminated fuel to two companies who are unlicensed and did not have the track record in handling volumes of such contaminated fuel.

They also alleged the company to which the contaminated oil was sold to, had links with the MD at BOST and had the same telephone line the Alfred Obeng used.

Kofi Buah

They called on the president to, without delay, interdict the MD at BOST and institute an investigation into the deal.

Their call appears to have been met, at least partially by the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko who has constituted an eight member committee to investigate how the oil got contaminated and the circumstances under which the oil was sold out to Movenpiina.

But the workers at BOST are unhappy with the accusations against their MD.

Wearing red armbands and chanting, the workers insisted their MD has done nothing wrong and must be left alone.

No institution in the petroleum industry was spared a threat by the workers. Not even the Minority in Parliament.

Godfred Newton Amu warned the Energy Ministry to dissolve the committee it set up to investigate the controversial transaction.

According to him, the committee members are made up of BDCs and OMCs all whom seek the extinction of BOST.

Describing the committee members as “bias” Mr Amu said it will be a dangerous move if government allowed only BDCs to handle the sale of products downstream.

He charged Ghanaians to “disregard the call by the Minority” for the BOST boss to be interdicted.

They also petitioned the president not to rush in taking punitive measures against Mr Obeng who they claim has rather been working hard to put the institution in the right pedestal.

“We want to reaffirm our unflinching support for Alfred Obeng,” he said, threatening to protest if the president were to remove the MD.

Adams Mutawakilu

In a reaction, a Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee said the action by the workers cannot be countenanced.

Adams Mutawakilu said the ongoing controversy is a matter of breach of law and the law must apply not shouts of protest.

According to him, at the time Movenpiina applied to buy the fuel it was not registered and wondered how such a company would get such a contract.

He reiterated the call for the MD Alfred Obeng to step aside for investigations to be carried out.

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