The Bulk Storage and Transportation (BOST) under the immediate past Managing Director-Alfred Obeng Boateng has over the past one year been saddled with one serious scandal after the other, following largely from series of bad management decisions by the past Managing Director.
Scandals such as the decision to carelessly dump over 5 million litres of contaminated oil onto the market through unlicensed firms received strong bashing, opposition and disgust from COPEC, ACEP, IES and the entire public.
Ghanaians would have thought, that huge scandal would have made the past MD to sit up and desist from any further acts against the Public good and the company he had been appointed to head but that was not to be.
He single handedly decides a few months later to go trading off and selling over 1.8 million barrels to two companies at a rate way below the then prevailing market rates leading to huge financial losses to BOST itself and the state at large.
COPEC once again raised issue with this unfortunate sale after an initial publication by the Herald newspaper.
Several press conferences by a section of the staff aligned to the past MD failed to convince the discerning public who simply could not understand how crude that Ghana paid +$4.6 /barrel for, was sold cheaply 8 months after for -$2 /barrel at a time when world market prices were only going up and we could have easily made a lot more if we had allowed others to bid.
Subsequent discussions shifted from the substance of the matter to personalisation of a national issue bothering on apparent corruption and wrongful disposal of a national resource contrary to the provisions of the Public Asset Disposal Act.
Death threats and name callings followed with very wild and unsubstantiated allegations being thrown out there to suggest some of us had personal interests in the matter which clearly was far from the truth, part of the death threats ended in court.
Thankfully several public spirited lawyers including the distinguished Lawyer Martin Kpebu came to our defense for no fee whatsoever.
Our stakeholder Council remained resolute and unwavering though some of them were called unpalatable names in the heat of the discussions.
For the avoidance of doubt, COPEC Ghana has been involved strongly in several serious matters of serious national importance all of which never bothered on anything personal but at all times for the public good and this particular one was no different.
Critical Issues such as:
1. Leading a demonstration on fuel pricing which subsequently saw the Ministry of Finance reduce the SPT and fuel price by extension.
2. Mandatory road towing programme which had to be shelved eventually after leading a charge against the wrongful implementation module which saw all of us and other progressive forces bring pressure to bear on the module, leading to its cancellation.
3. Issues of bad or quality fuel on the market.
4. Public Safety in and around fuel and lpg stations.
5. High diesel sulphur reduction from the previously dirty 3000ppm to current cleaner 50ppm.
Several other lead discussions on TOR must work, NPA, Ghana Gas, GCMC, the Ministry of Energy etc has been done without any personal interests whatsoever as we never raise these issues out of malice.
Our records from the former regime to the current regime will amply demonstrate our commitment to ensuring public good at all times.
The President’s Inaugural address admonishing all of us to be citizens and not spectators continues to serve a good catalyst for our continuous appraisal of critical state institutions whose gain or loss affects the ordinary Ghanaian directly.
It is our firm belief that the president’s master stroke to give BOST a new MD will not only boost public confidence but also boost the confidence of the business community in the company to ensure the Global Major Oil Traders all of whom had withdrawn from carrying out any business with the company, will now find a good reason to renew business operations with BOST.
It is our firm belief further that the new MD who until his appointment also served as the Director-Upstream at the Ministry of Energy will bring his rich experiences to bear on the company as we are aware some of the very senior experienced hands who have been at the company are being prepared to Deputize and provide institutional support for the new administration.
We use this opportunity to also commend the BOST Board for standing up to the past MD in his bad dealings that only brought bad press to the company.
The president has indeed demonstrated his aversion for corruption and we believe all others in other key positions will take a cue and not engage in acts that only serves their pockets to the disadvantage of the institutions they have been appointed to.
COPEC and other allied bodies will continue to monitor events downstream and will at all times make useful contributions for policy makers to formulate and improve standards in the oil industry in Ghana.
Our eyes and ears continue to be firmly fixed on key petroleum matters and we will not hesitate at any point in bringing to the attention of Authorities of any critical issue that affects our collective well being and the public good at all times.
We finally call on the president to ensure any wrongful gains made by the past MD is returned to the state after which he can be redeployed to anywhere his publishing experiences could be useful for.
Once again we say THANK you Mr President for giving BOST a new lease of life.