Sacked BOST Boss In Trouble Again?

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By Gifty Arthur

Bungalow, Official Car Matters & Double Salary Issues Pop Up

Former Managing Director (MD) of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), Alfred Obeng Boateng, is reportedly occupying his official bungalow, months after President Nana Akufo-Addo, relieved him of his position.

BOST sources told The Herald that, Mr Obeng-Boateng, has not only refused to vacate the company’s official bungalow at the AU Village in Accra, but also keeping and using the official vehicle provided him, while at BOST.

This paper’s sources say, the former MD, who was the first to be embroiled in huge scandal in the Akufo-Addo government last year, left office allocating to himself, huge sums of money as salary. The company is yet to get him to refund.

The new acting MD, George Mensah Okley, is said to be on the heels of his predecessor for the bungalow, vehicle and the money, but he is yet to make any headway.

Mr Obeng-Boateng, was one of three heads of state agencies, booted out by the President in June.

The two others were; Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) CEO, Gifty Klenam, and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) CEO, Paul Asare Ansah.

The government, gave no reason for the BOST MD’s removal or the dismissal the two other CEOs. His removal followed series of high-profile scandals notable among them being the contaminated fuel saga in June 2017.

Five million litres of contaminated fuel was sold to two unlicensed companies; Movenpinaa and Zup Oil, which were allegedly set up days before the sale.

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) confirmed that the two companies were also not licensed.

Following Citi News reports, there were calls for the Alfred Obeng Boateng to be interdicted.

The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, subsequently set up an investigative committee to look into the matter.

Later, he cleared BOST MD of any wrongdoing, citing dubious Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and National Security report.

He was dragged to the Special Prosecutor by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) in another scandal, while aspect of the accusation against Mr Obeng Boateng, is pending before court in Accra.

Recently, pressure group, Occupy Ghana, wrote to the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, asking her to investigate allegations of smuggling and illegal dealings at BOST.

An industry report released by the Ghana Chamber of Oil Distributors (CBOD) revealed that Ghana lost about GHC 1.4 billion in taxes and regulatory margins from smuggling and export dumping of petroleum products in 2017.

CBOD in its report, blamed the losses on increased smuggling activities along the country’s coasts, under-invoicing, tax evasion and export dumping, ESLA under-reporting, Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) transfer pricing, deliberate inefficiencies and illegalities and unlawful profiteering at BOST.

The report, without mentioning names, accused officials at the Presidency, National Security and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) of complicity.

According to the report, the government had, over the years, also failed to sanction persons involved in the diversion of premix fuel, among other things.

“Illegal trading of products continues to be a bane of the industry and the national economy. Smuggling through the ports, premix and marine gas oil diversion (MGO oil) and export product dumping account for the majority of the illicit petroleum trade.

The disappointing observation, has been the absence of strong will by the central government to deal with this trade, despite modest arrests recorded,” the report added.

Occupy Ghana in its petition said: “In the interest of the principles of probity, accountability, and transparency, we write to request that full-scale criminal and highly forensic investigations are conducted into the alleged findings in the CBOD Report.”

OccupyGhana, again urged that persons found culpable should be prosecuted no matter their positions in society.

“If any persons are found to have engaged in these acts we will urge the prosecution of all criminally culpable elements within the petroleum value chain to the full extent permissible by law, no matter who these culpable elements may be,” the letter added.

Meanwhile, BOST, has welcomed the call by the pressure group, indicating it is implementing pragmatic corporate governance to deal with current challenges bedeviling the company.

In a statement, Mensah Okley said “While we are yet to be served with a copy of the said letter, we wish to state that management has seriously taken note of the concerns of OccupyGhana as noted in the various media publications”.

The statement continued “We wish to assure the general public that the current management considers it a priority to radically restructure our business to make it more transparent and accountable”.

Interestingly, The Herald is learning that, Mr Obeng-Boateng, is not exactly a financier of the NPP, as he has been held. This paper learnt he has a senior brother called, KK, who is based in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

KK, who is said to be a businessman, has hugely been financing the NPP, and upon the 2016 victory, the Akufo-Addo government offered him the BOST job, but passed it on to his younger brother, Mr Obeng-Boateng, and through him, he (KK) did a lot of things at BOST.

More to come!

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