The Herald’s contacts at BOST, have revealed that they were recently told by management that, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has been behind certain controversial decisions they had taken in recent times.
This, includes spending over GHc1 million on a 2-week Harvard Course, after a similar one at Oxford University, despite the ban on nonessential foreign trips.
The Edwin Alfred Provencal-led management, is also accused of blowing the dollar equivalent of Ghc13 million on the procurement of 13 brand new 2020 Toyota Prados for all General Managers, despite the Akufo-Addo government’s moratorium on purchasing of vehicles for state officials.
Workers of BOST, have been agitating for some days with reports of a sit-down strike over poor, incompetent management decisions they say is affecting the general performance of the company.
The angry workers, say they had been told by both the management and the board led by its Chairman, Ekow Hackman, that the Chief of Staff, sanctioned these decisions. Interestingly, the Board Chairman, was also part of the Harvard trip to the US, leaving many in shock.
Just yesterday, ranking member on the Mines and Energy Committee in Parliament, also accused the current management of Bulk Oil and Transportation of inflating the price of its twin tower office complex contract started under Awuah Darko administration at the behest of the Mahama government.
According to John Abdulai Jinapor, the programme which cost US$39 million budgeted by the previous NDC administration, has been increased to a whopping US$78 million for the office under the NPP government.
On the office complex, addressing the press in Parliament yesterday, the MP for Yapei-Kusawgu Constituency and Ranking Member, Mines and Energy Committee, said the development is deliberately being superintended by the Akufo-Addo government without recourse to the law and respect to the citizenry amidst the current economic hardships.
“We have, however, noted from recent developments based on documents available to us that the original contract which was valued at $39,000,000.00 (Thirty-Nine Million Dollars) ballooned to a whopping $78,000,000.00 if the two-tower building is accounted for based on the current cost of the single unit valued at $39,000,000.00 (Thirty-Nine Million Dollars). This means the building has been inflated by 100% over the original contract.
“We say so because we have noted that the current Management of BOST decided to acquire only one of the twin unit building due to the precarious financial position of the company, however it applied to the Public Procurement Authority for approval to vary the original contract for the single unit from the original price of $19,500,000.00 per unit to a new cost of $24,000,000.00,” he said.
Mr Jinapor, called for an immediate independent investigation into the alleged scandal.
“It is our hope that for the first time, the President will gather the courage to cause an independent investigation into this scandal which is of monumental proportion, and punish his officials whose negligence, recklessness, and complicity have led us into this huge mess,” he further noted.
The MP, added that anything short of an independent investigation shall be rejected and denounced by the NDC in parliament and the good people of Ghana.
He also indicated that the minority will be vigilant and resolute in their quest to ensure that the continuous “looting and plundering of the resources of BOST”, which is their collective strategic national asset, is brought to an immediate halt.
“We are firm in our conviction that this is a classic case of causing financial loss to the state. This is another PDS, Ameri and Movinpina scandal in the making. The Energy sector under the current NPP administration has become a Pollution Haven for regularized corruption, inflated favouritism, and rusted nepotism”, he said.
According to the Minority, former Chief Executive Officer at BOST, Kwame Awuah Darko began the construction of the twin tower office in 2015 to serve as office accommodation and enhance internally generated funds at the company.
In its claim, the current Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration falsely accused Mr Awuah Darko of inflating and padding the contract and as a result, they suspended the project.
It said, although Mr Awuah Darko was cleared of any wrongdoing after a probe by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), recent developments and documents available uncovered the “outrageous scandal”.
“We say so because we have noted that the current Management of BOST decided to acquire only one of the twin unit buildings due to the precarious financial position of the company, however, it applied to the Public Procurement Authority for approval to vary the original contract for the single unit from the original price of $19. 5 million per unit to a new cost of $24 million.”
“To our utmost shock and dismay, but, of course, as usual of this government, the PPA without any reasonable justification in granting the approval hiked the contract sum to an inflated figure of $39,000,000.00 (Thirty-Nine Million United States Dollars) for a single unit when BOST could have originally constructed the twin-tower office at the original price of $39 million”, Mr. Jinapor further accused the government.
The Minority is thus calling on government to come clean on the matter and desist from abusing the public purse.
“We, the Minority in Parliament, hereby serve notice that anything short of an independent investigation shall be rejected and denounced by the NDC and the good people of Ghana. We shall remain vigilant and resolute in our quest to ensure that the continuous looting and plundering of the resources of BOST, which is our collective strategic national asset, is brought to an immediate halt.”
MyNewsGh.com reports that the aggrieved workers insist that management under Mr Provencal and Mr Hackman, has made their lives worse off, coupled with a failure to implement a 15percent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) agreed between government and labour.
Whereas the MD and his ‘lackey’ Board Chairman claim the company is broke and cannot afford to pay 15% CoLA to BOST staff, the workers of the company wonder how the MD, Board Chairman and some General Managers and select managers, blew the Dollar Equivalent of approximately Ghc14, 000,000 on a 2 week Harvard Course after a similar one at Oxford University and the procurement of 13 brand new 2020 Toyota Prados for all General Managers.
Out of the 13 brand new vehicles procured, only two are in use by two General Managers, one Josiah Attah and Albert Mantey, while the others are parked at one of the company’s facilities after the company staff raised commotion over the tear-rubber, extravagant luxurious vehicles.
These procurements and foreign travels come at a time the Government of President Akufo-Addo, placed a moratorium on foreign travel by public officials and the purchase of new vehicles.
MyNewsGh.com reports that after the retreat at Peduase Lodge, the government announced cuts on discretionary spending by a total of 30% and reduced ministers’ salaries by 30% while placing a moratorium on government vehicle purchases and foreign travel without prior approval.
MyNewsGh.com says it has confirmed from reliable sources inside Jubilee House that the Management of BOST neither sought nor obtained prior approval before these extravagant expenses on the taxpayer.
The workers of the company have reportedly notified the National Labour Commission of their strike intention after the Board. The MD of BOST and his Harvard Delegation had to cut off their 2-week “so-called” training course and rush back after they picked up hints of staff agitation over the poor management decisions.
More soon on how Mr Edwin Provencal, created a parallel payroll system for himself and the General Managers of the Company to hide their benefits from transparent accountability.