The tenure of Alfred Obeng Boateng at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) is one, many would have loved to forget as a result of the wanton corruption and malpractices which it left behind, especially the sale of 5 million litres of contaminated oil to Movenpinaa Energy and Zup Oil in 2017.
But few years after sacking the man Ken Agyapong described as one of the biggest financiers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), President Akufo-Addo, has done the unthinkable by asking Ghanaians to vote for him as their Member of Parliament for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Constituency on the ticket of the governing NPP.
Some suspects that some BOST officers, deliberately contaminated the 5 million litres of oil, so as to sell it cheaply to their preferred companies.
But the issue sent him into history as having been investigated by the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), a Ministerial Committee set up by Boakye Agyarko, then minister of energy and led by a lecturer of KNUST, Dr. Adarkwa.
The third committee was set up by his successor, the late George Mensah Okley and led by Senyo Hosi of Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDC).
Aside the BNI, which many doubted it report, but became the basis of President Akufo-Addo clearing Mr Obeng of any wrongdoing, all the other investigations discovered something wrong with the sale of the contaminated fuel.
Indeed, it came out through one of the investigations by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) that the two companies BOST sold the contaminated fuel to, were not licensed.
It was reported that the sale caused the country to lose some GHC7 million in revenue for selling to the two unlicensed companies namely, Movenpinaa and Zup Oil, set up days before the sale.
One other committee which investigated the Movenpina-Zup Oil contaminated fuel saga, found that the transaction was criminal and that, the proceeds from same has not been paid into the state coffers till date.
Indeed, the committee’s report indicates that Movenpina has not paid BOST for the 471,000 litres sold through Zup Oil Limited.
The committee also found out that thousands of litres of fuel which was lodged in the tanks of the NPA, could not be accounted for.
“At all times material to this transaction, Movenpinaa Energy and Zup oil had not been licensed by the NPA to trade in petroleum products in the downstream petroleum sector of Ghana. The sale of the contaminated fuel to these unlicensed companies therefore breached sections 11 and 32 of the NPA Act (ACT 691) of 2005, hence unlawful.”
There was yet another transaction by BOST, involving sale of 942,000 barrel of crude oil under some mysterious circumstances.
Upon persistent publications by The Herald, the Alfred Obeng administration was later to say that BOST raise US$51.3 million ($51,386,100) from the sale to defray part of the company’s debts, but industry analysts insisted that the sale was not above reproach. The crude oil had come from British Petroleum on credit months before Kwame Awuah Darko’s administration ended.
A statement released by BOST on the matter, had indicated that in September 2017, when the said crude oil was sold, the average price of the commodity on the world market was $56.55.
However, BOST gave a discount of $2 per barrel and sold the product at $54.55 per barrel.
BOST, therefore, rejected the reports, indicating that at the time of the sale, the price of crude oil on the world market was $62.
The statement was issued by Media Relations Manager of BOST, Nana Akua Adubea Obeng, who said the crude was sold to BB Energy as Free on Board (FOB).
According to her, $27.2 million ($27,208,016.13) of the money was used to defray BOST’s indebtedness to British Petroleum (BP).
It was also discovered that some monies went missing under Mr Obeng, and the whereabouts of these monies said to be millions of dollars remains a mystery. But many officials at BOST who are familiar with who got the illegal payments keep speculating that someone will definitely face the law one day.
However, President Akufo-Addo, sees and holds Mr Obeng Boateng in high esteem.
Speaking at Bibiani, at the end of his 3-day tour of the Western North Region, on Saturday, September 26, 2020, he urged the residents to vote for the ex-Managing Director of BOST who doubles as Chief Executive Officer for Approachers Groups of Companies.
The president, also took a jibe at the 2020 presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, saying he had proven, over time, to be inconsistent, as he flip-flops on issues of national development.
President Akufo-Addo stated that it is important for the credibility of the country’s public discourse that persons in the country’s public space are seen to be consistent in their views and advocacy.According to him, “when the Bill governing the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme were being passed in 2003, I was in Parliament. I witnessed the NDC MPs, which included Mahama, kicking against it by staging a walk out of the House.”
The President continued, “When President Kufuor successfully implemented it, Mahama and Mills said they would implement a one-time payment of the National Health Insurance, but for eight years, eight solid years, that promise never became a reality.
“Today, Mahama says he is bringing free primary healthcare if voted for. Can we trust him? Did he fulfill his promises for which reason we should believe that he would fulfil this? No, we cannot trust him.”
Touching on the cancellation of the allowances for teacher and nursing trainees, he noted that students and, indeed, all well-meaning Ghanaians, asked the former President to restore the allowances, all to no avail.
“We begged him to restore them, but he was adamant to the extent that he said if that would mean he losing the 2016 elections, so be it. I restored the teacher and nursing training allowances, and now he has changed his tongue again. He says he will now continue to pay teacher and nursing training allowances! Can we trust him? No way!”, President Akufo-Addo retorted.
Again, on the Zongo Development Fund, which, in the view of the President, is bringing development to the people in Zongo communities, he recounted how former President Mahama said the use of the Zongo Development Fund for the provision of ICT facilities and astroturf pitches represented a misappropriation of funds, only for the former President to turn around and promise the construction of mortuaries and legalizing ‘okada’ for residents in Zongo communities.
Again, on the Free Senior High School policy, the President recalled how John Mahama stated that the pledge by the NPP to provide Free SHS was a mere political gimmick and just lies, as the implementation of the policy can only happen in 20 years.
“Two years ago, he said if you had GH¢2 billion, you shouldn’t be spending it all on Free SHS. Today, he says that if he is given the mantle of leadership, he will continue with the implementation of Free SHS. Can we trust him on this? No!”, President Akufo-Addo continued.
To John Mahama, he asked “You have fought the Free Senior High School all this while, what has happened? What changed your mind about the Free SHS? The Ghanaian people deserve to know, why have you changed your mind about the Free Senior High School policy. He is inconsistent and a flip-flop, a trait not seen in Akufo-Addo.”
The President, thus, asked residents of Western North to continue to have trust and confidence in him, adding that “I will always be truthful to you, and work for the unity, progress, prosperity and development of our nation.”
With the NPP having only three (3) seats out of the nine (9) seats in the Western North Region, he was hopeful that the 2020 elections will see a change in fortunes for the NPP.
“I pray that massive changes occur this time around for all of you to be part of the elephant family. You will never regret being a part of the NPP. I urge you to vote Four More for Nana”, he said, and appealed to residents of the Bibiani to vote massively for the NPP’s parliamentary candidate, Alfred Obeng.