The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), Alfred Obeng Boateng, has made some calculated efforts towards burying the issue of the crude oil transaction by suing the Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, Ghana (COPEC – Ghana), Duncan Amoah, for defamation.
The lawsuit, is over the death threat allegations made against the BOST CEO by Duncan Amoah over which Mr. Obeng was invited by the police and granted a self-recognizance bail.
Tema Regional Police Commander, DCOP Asomah Hinneh, has confirmed criminal investigations into the matter of the death threat.
Mr. Obeng’s action yesterday, therefore, appears to be a preemptive move to scuttle the police investigations, as well as investigations into the sale of the crude oil.
Ahead of the police invitation and lawsuit, some workers of the BOST led by the Head of Fuel Trade at BOST, Albert Mantey, said they take a serious view of the allegation made against their boss and will resort to the court for Duncan Amoah to prove his case.
“If somebody threatens you that he’ll kill or harm you, the law is clear, you have to go to the Police Station and that person will go and sign a bond. Duncan Amoah claiming he’s been threatened and is still walking around is worrying. We have given the matter to our lawyers, whoever threatened him will now have to go through the law to answer those questions.”
Shortly, after this came the writ from the lawyers of the BOST MD.
The death threats came after COPEC waded into the sale of some 1.8 million barrels of crude oil by BOST, causing the state to lose about 5.3 million dollars.
According to Mr. Obeng Boateng, Mr. Amoah, made a false claim when he suggested that he [ Alfred Obeng Boateng] through his agents, had threatened to take his life, following allegations of financial malfeasance he leveled against him and the BOST recently.
He is, therefore, asking the court to slap a GHC2 million damages against the defendant for damaging his professional reputation; 2 million cedis for damaging his social reputation and 1 million cedis for the psychological trauma the death threat publication has had on him.
Duncan Amoah, had claimed his life was in danger after he uncovered a supposed shady deal at BOST which is believed to have cost the nation GHC 23 million in revenue.
According to Duncan Amoah, about 1.8 million barrels of crude oil was sold at a discount to an unlicensed company known as BB Energy.
He indicated that some unidentified assailants allegedly linked to Mr. Obeng had since this revelation vowed to eliminate him in three days.
Mr. Obeng, in a rebuttal, however, dismissed these claims, saying the COPEC boss was being used to distract the new BOST administration.
The BOST MD held that if Duncan Amoah had genuine concerns, he would have approached BOST through more appropriate avenues as opposed to public utterances. Interestingly, Duncan Amoah revealed that he made several attempts to seek information from the BOST boss to get information from him but he was not forthcoming with the information.
“If Duncan Amoah meant well, the first thing to do is to find out the rationale behind such decision be it commercial or not. But you cannot just get up and issue such statement that has potential to damage reputation of your fellow human beings and the very company that belongs to all of us as Ghanaians because of your individual interest of looking for cheap money.”
Mr. Obeng Boateng lamented further that, “everyday management [of BOST] is having crisis meeting because of these false and misleading publications thereby preventing management from concentrating on its core mandate.”
“Ghanaians and the media should not allow this selfish individual to fool us by placing his interest above the national interest, he added.
Mr. Obeng Boateng noted that, the oil in question could not have been sold at the official price because of the amount of time that had passed between the time of purchase and sale.
“In his [Duncan Amoah] statement, he exposed his ignorance when he stated that at the international level Quaibo Crude is sold at Brent plus $0.85 per barrel as official price, and therefore BOST has caused financial loss to the state by selling its own at a discount of $2 per barrel. It must be noted here that a cargo imported with the aim of refining or using for one purpose but did not materialize and reselling it about 10 months later, cannot be sold at the official price. Such a product is considered distress and is always sold at a discount globally.”
“As we speak, BOST has offers for such distress cargoes at a discount of $4 per barrel. Any person competent in the industry would have asked for the details before issuing this illogical and baseless statement actuated by malice and selfish interest to mislead the good people of Ghana. Thus keeping the crude for such a period may affect the quality and for that matter the yield, hence the assay is a factor in pricing,” he explained.
Has Duncan Amoah, discounted these claims insisting on a forensic investigations by EOCO, BNI, Police CID and key investigative institutions to have the disposal of crude oil properly explained.