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No wrongdoing at BOST – Energy Minister

By Iddi
Yire, GNA

Accra, July 4, GNA – There is no wrongdoing at
the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) on the sale of
the five million litres of contaminated products, Mr Boakye Agyarko, Minister
of Energy has announced.

He said investigations carried out by the
state security agencies and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), showed that
on the basis of previous practices, there was no wrongdoing at BOST on the sale
of the five million litres of contaminated products.

“We wish to advise that social commentators to
will in future cross check their facts before making allegations that have the
tendency of causing unnecessary panic among consumers of petroleum products,”
Mr Boakye Agyarko stated on Tuesday at a press conference in Accra.

The press conference was also attended by Mr
Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Minister of National Security.

Mr Boakye Agyarko said it was the Ministry’s
intention to set up a ministerial committee on the BOST matter, however,
ongoing investigations by the National Security, the Bureau of National
Investigations (BNI) and the NPA, had so far established findings informing
their understanding and assessment of the situation.

He said the findings of the state security
agencies indicated that: “The contamination of the five million litres occurred
on January 18 and that was before the current BOST Managing Director (MD)
assumed office.

“BOST as a matter of practice had sold
contaminated products as far back as 2014, over eight million litres of
contaminated fuel was sold in 2015 and over 12 million litres was sold in 2016.

“The absence of refining capacity at Tema Oil
Refinery (TOR) precluded the possibility of saving the contaminated product
through refining process.

“The sale of contaminated products has thus
far been to individuals, union members and companies that have largely not been
licensed by the NPA.

“From 2015 to 2016, a total of 49 unlicensed
companies and individuals bought contaminated products from BOST at one Ghana
Cedi and below.

“By selling to individuals and union members
for example, it is clear that, by practice, a company did not even have to be
registered to buy contaminated products from BOST.”

The findings cited that in the particular case
of Movenpina, which bought five million litres of contaminated products, it was
duly incorporated under the Companies Code of Ghana at the time the transaction
occurred.

According to the findings, there was a market
for contaminated products that was quite separate from the normal market for
petroleum products.

“It is therefore, not possible to sell
contaminated products at pump prices since they required processing before
utilisation.

“BOST received expressions of interest for the
purchase of the contaminated products from 15 companies and Movenpina offered
the highest price of GHC1.30, which formed the basis for its selection; which
is the highest price ever offered for contaminated products.

“It is not the case that the MD of BOST owns
the Company that bought the products. It is not true that the address or phone
number of Movenpina is the same as that of the BOST MD.”

The Minister also referred to the statement by
the NPA, which was issued last week, assuring that the contaminated products
had been fully accounted for and therefore, had not been delivered to retail
stations on the market.

“We wish to confirm that the contaminated
products are currently being quarantined at the various depots and do not pose
any danger to public safety,” Mr Boakye Agyarko added.

He said the question going forward was whether
to have new codified processes for dealing with contaminated products.

He said to this effect, the Ministry would
start the implementation of a number of recommendations, some of which had been
pending from previous investigation reports on the sale and discharge of
contaminated products.

These he said include; review and introducing
new regulations on the sale and discharge of contaminated products and no
unlicensed company, individual or union member could trade in contaminated
products any longer.

“The Ministry is extremely concerned about the
fact that year in and year out, we are faced with the contamination of large
volumes of products through preventable accidents. Our focus now must be on
taking all necessary actions to ensure that this is brought to an immediate
end,” Mr Boakye Agyarko stated.

He said the Ministry was asking Dr Lawrence
Darkwah, Head of Chemical Engineering Department, Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science and Technology, an expert in the field to lead the Ministerial
Committee to consult with all relevant stakeholders to review the entire
operations of BOST.

He said the review was to be completed within
two weeks.

GNA

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