Africa Centre for Integrity and Development (ACID), an anti-corruption and good governance Advocacy Civil Society Organization has described the allegation leveled by the Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah against BOST in the alleged sell off of 1.8million barrels of crude oil by BOST, causing the state to lose about 5.3 million dollars as pure mischief.
COPEC uncovered an alleged sell off of 1.8million barrels of crude oil by BOST, causing the state to lose about 5.3 million dollars.
The Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah alleged that his life was in danger after he uncovered an alleged shady deal at BOST and vowed to follow up on the scandal even if that wreaked danger to his life as a citizen of the country.
He asserts that some unidentified assailants allegedly linked to Mr Obeng have vowed to eliminate him in three days and has consequently reported the matter to the police but that notwithstanding he’d also taken some “personal security” measures to ensure his security is not compromised.
But a statement signed by Ibrahim I. Tahir, Executive Director ACID, said its independent investigation into the allegation revealed that COPEC’s allegation against BOST as totally flawed.
“It must also be noted that in this our business of guardianship over the sacred values of society, as Civil Society Organizations, we should be
careful not to betray the sanctity of our calling, in fighting the unholy wars of hidden political or economic marauders.
“Truly, our conclusion in this matter is that the COPEC and BOST brouhaha, is pure mischief from the former, as the saying goes, to give ‘‘a
dog a bad name and hang it’’, which should be disregarded by all, in the National interest.”
Read below the full statement
Africa Centre for Integrity and Development (ACID), an anti-corruption and good governance Advocacy Civil Society Organization, take serious view of the many allegations made in the media by the Executive Secretary of COPEC, Mr. Duncan Amoah. ACID have observed with keen interest, the many allegations of wrong-doing unleashed by COPEC against the Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST), Mr. Alfred Obeng Boateng.
ACID as a civil society organization have an interest in making sure that, managers of public corporations appointed by the President by virtue of Article 195(1) of the 1992 Constitution should in the performance of their functions, make decisions that are aimed at protecting public interest.
By reason of this and the heightened public interest, generated by all the news surrounding BOST, we as civil society players decided to investigate the matter independently to either support the alleged corruption allegations made by our colleagues at COPEC or corroborate the position of lack of wrong doing by the managers of BOST.
Firstly, COPEC is a serious organization that has taken particular interest in the oil and gas industry, particularly in the downstream sector of the economy. We were excited by their zeal to fight corruption and other ills of society.
It is worthy to note that any civil society organization that considers the issues of integrity, accountability and the rule of law as a mandate has found a close friend in ACID, but in our quest to interrogate matters of public interest, we need to be mindful of the fact that doing the needful by being circumspect and balanced in our reportage of issues involving persons who have built reputations over so many years, is very necessary and crucial, so that we do not walk ourselves or our organizations into needless legal mine-fields in courts to tarnish our watchdog roles in society.
It is true that a lot of prominent Ghanaians have shied away from public office because of the perceived corruption tag often brandished rightly or
wrongly against them.
Coming home back to the COPEC and BOST brouhaha, our independent investigations conducted, using the careful tools of due diligence, has revealed a chasm of difference between the real facts, and the false assumptions on the one hand, and the bogus questioning of the corporate rules of engagement of BOST by COPEC on the other.
It is worthy to note that, the Oil Industry has its own complex traditions and technicalities in terms of marketing, pricing in season, transactions, transportation and a whole gamut of modalities and terms.
For reference of knowledge, BOST is not only a bulk oil storage company, as COPEC alleged but an Oil Trading Company (OTC) as well, owned bythe State. In other words, BOST serves a dual purpose, both as storage company and a price stabilizer in the market, since oil price volatilizes without any emergency stocks can throw the economy out of control and bring hardships to the citizenry, so for sure, BOST by all accounts is a national security installation, so any criticism of it have to be done constructively, dispassionately and truthfully and not with parochial interest.
With regard to the following technical terms in shipping of goods, Freight on Board (FOB) and Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF), raised by COPEC to justify their allegations against BOST, are international shipping agreements used in the transportation of goods between a Buyer and Seller. These agreements or terms were established in the year 1936 by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and were, and still used to specify origin and destination information, determine where liability officially begins and ends, and to outline the responsibilities of Buyers to Sellers and vice-versa.
Looking at the issue at hand, BOST has no option but to adopt the most cost effective means; one that would provide value for money for BOST and the nation, and to that end, the competent management team at BOST chose the best possible tool to trade off the crude to BB Energy.
Indeed, anyone with an idea or expertise in oil trading and the pricing methodology would conclude that, from the seller-point-of-view in this case, BOST chose the best and most effective instrument, which is the FOB. This allowed BOST to extricate itself from any liabilities, i.e. insurance, freight and other costs. These clearly showed that COPEC’s allegations lacked substance because they were made on the basis of lack of knowledge of an area of business they know-little of, which also unveils not just ignorance but a motive to malign the Managing Director of BOST for vested interest.
The other issue COPEC raised was that the crude sold to BB Energy was 1.8 million barrels, which also proved to be false. Our enquiries revealed
the correct figure as 942,000 barrels. Another misinformation, which COPEC put out as an allegation was that, BOST is not an oil trading company, and this goes to buttress the point we have raised earlier that, if COPEC have adverted themselves to conduct some due diligence, they would have known that, as part of the changes that were made to the mission of BOST, due to the ever-changing environments in the oil industry, the trading of oil was added to the mandate of BOST.
Another discovery we made during the course of our investigations was that Mr. Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko the former Managing Director of BOST bought the product at $4.77 above Brent but so far the Forensic Audit ordered by EOCO did not indict him on this because purchasing product at a premium on one hand or at a discount on the other hand has nothing to do with criminality or causing financial loss to the State.
To Mr. Duncan Amoah since there is $3.95 per barrel above the so called official price of $0.82 per barrel, it should be calculated as $3.95 x 1,800000 which is $7,110,000.00 = GH¢31,995,000.00 as the financial loss caused to the State by Mr. Kwame Awuah Darko. If Mr. Duncan Amoah’s assertion is anything to go by then every government official will be prosecuted and jailed.
Africa Centre for Integrity and Development (ACID) would have highly applaud or commend COPEC, if during our investigations we had found their allegations to be palpably correct and credible with little margin of errors, we would have supported them to take the matter to a conclusive end, but as it were, if we do, we would only be condoning their unjustifiable course because their allegations were totally flawed.
Having said that, the one very important lesson we want COPEC to learn therefrom is that what goes around, surely comes around. Truth and Integrity are intrinsic values of the human spirit; they are good, and they edify, but even these are not immutable edifices, since the human spirit has the ugly tendency to be corrupted by the baser elements of man’s inordinate desires for fame, wealth and power.
It must also be noted that in this our business of guardianship over the sacred values of society, as Civil Society Organizations, we should be careful not to betray the sanctity of our calling, in fighting the unholy wars of hidden political or economic marauders.
Truly, our conclusion in this matter is that the COPEC and BOST brouhaha, is pure mischief from the former, as the saying goes, to give ‘‘a dog a bad name and hang it’’, which should be disregarded by all, in the National interest.
Ibrahim I. Tahir
0208 425 369