No wrongdoing at BOST – Energy Minister

Accra,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.

Source: Ghana News Agency