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General News | Apr 19, 2004

Scandal Rocks Bulk Oil Storage And Transport

CHRONICLE
Scandal Rocks Bulk Oil Storage And Transport

...Re-designing of organisation chart cost $6,000 THE Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) has been rocked by allegations of financial malpractices akin to what led to the interdiction of the former Managing Director (MD) in early 2001.

The CHRONICLE can report that the allegations are so widespread that prompt investigations may be required to prevent Mr. J.O.K Addo-Yobo's administration from saddling the nation with another unnecessary debt as happened under his predecessor when about ¢1.3 billion was lost to the state through questionable deals.

Mr. Addo-Yobo's alleged spending spree on renting a house where hundreds of millions cedis was said to have gone into furnishing is being called to question.

So is the issue of payment of $6,000 (about ¢52.4million) to a three-member sub committee of the board of directors for re-designing of an organisation chart (Organ gram) for BOST.

The consultancy fees to the sub committee, chaired by Mr. Chris Adom, was termed ''Honorarium for BOST Sub Committee on BOST ORGANOGRAM'' and paid to the members.

The Chronicle gathered that following the redirection of the business operations of the BOST there was the need for restructuring of the company to fit into its new scope of business.

A sub committee of the board made up of four experts was selected to re-design the organizational chart for BOST. But one member of the committee could not avail himself and this therefore reduced the number to three.

Reacting to the concerns raised, Mr. Addo-Yobo justified the payment saying if it were awarded to a consultant outside it would have cost the company more than what his administration paid to the sub-committee.

He said what was paid to the sub committee was never a consultancy fee but rather honorarium ''for the great job done''.

According to him BOST paid their normal sitting allowances and when they completed the job it was decided that ¢2 million be given to each member.

He said when the company went to the open market the going price was between $10,000 to $30,000 and therefore it was better that they paid the honorarium after a hectic work which took the committee some months.

The Chronicle gathered that after picking his appointment as the MD for the BOST there was the need for the company to house Addo-Yobo as part of his condition of service.

Meanwhile, the former MD, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, who was interdicted in 2001, was still occupying the company's executive residence.

As a result Mr. Addo-Yobo rented a house at East Legon at $1,500 per month and partly furnished it at a cost, which ran into millions of cedis.

However the paper gathered that when the Ministry of Energy got wind of the renting of a new place it kicked against it since the company's guesthouse at Tema was lying fallow.

At the end of the day the ministry's prudent suggestion prevailed and the MD therefore moved from the rented house at East Legon and relocated at the guesthouse.

But Mr. Addo-Yobo was said to have started moves to acquire another house at East Legon soon after the ministerial reshuffle when the new minister was posted to the sector, claiming the guesthouse was not up to his taste.

He acquired another house at the East Legon and the furnishing cost the company over ¢200million, it was alleged.

The paper gathered that when he rented the first house at East Legon the company purchased six air-conditioners and it was expected that these could be used in the new house to cut down cost but the MD requested for four new ones which cost close to ¢30million.

This has left people questioning the whereabouts of the old air-conditioners.

Reacting to these allegations last Friday Mr. Addo-Yobo debunked the claim that his administration was involved in any questionable financial practices.

''I must rather be commended for being humble to stay in the company's guest house as an MD for one year and thus help save a lot of money for the company,'' he said.

He also dismissed the allegation that he was forced by the ministry to abandon the first house he rented at East Legon for the guesthouse, explaining that the first rental at East Legon was undertaken by BOST for a South African company which BOST lured into the country to undertake a railway rehabilitation project.

He said because of BOST vast interest in relying on rail to cart its petroleum products to other part of the country, his administration managed to bring in some South Africans to undertake the railway rehabilitation project.

Upon the demand of their request BOST rented the house for them but when the deal fell through he decided to relinquish the place and rent it out in order to recoup the huge money BOST invested.

On the whereabouts of the air-conditioners he said out of the six that were purchased for the South African three were sent to the guesthouse when he relocated there to supplement the additional four the company purchased for his new place.

As to why BOST should use it resources to rent a house for the South African, Addo-Yobo said there was no wrong doing since his company was facilitating their coming to Ghana and since they were going to repay the cost of the house if the deal had gone through.

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