Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) committee tasked to investigate the Movenpina-Zup Oil contaminated fuel scandal, has indicted the former management of BOST for their alleged involvement and interference in the entire deal.
The Committee report further described the involvement of the former management in the incident as criminal worth of prosecution.
It would be recalled that, in 2017, BOST came under public scrutiny for a decision to sell five million litres of contaminated fuel to Movenpina, a company at the time said to have been incorporated less than a month after it negotiated the deal with BOST and without National Petroleum Authority (NPA) license.
As the result of public outcries, BOST constituted a nine-member committee Chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), Senyo Hosi, to review off-spec products at BOST as a result of the contamination at the Accra plains depot.
The Committee after its findings revealed that Zup Oil Limited, represented by its Managing Director, Mr David Azupio, confirmed receipt of 471,000 litres in its facilities and reported blending it with dirty lubricant oils.
He further indicated that the blended output was sold to various buyers between September 2017 and August 2018.
Zup Oil explained that it believed it was entitled to trade the products without recourse to BOST as it had paid Movenpina for the products and was not a customer of BOST.
Nevertheless, the Department of Finance at BOST held the contrary view that Movenpina has not paid BOST for the 471,000 litres sold through Zup Oil Limited.
Additionally, the committee found out that thousands of litres of fuel in the tank locked by the NPA could not be accounted for nor be traced to.
The Report further revealed that, on November 27, 2018, a total of 862,875lts of the 5million litres of contaminated fuel could not be unaccounted for. The Committee admits that there must have been some evaporation but finds the volume loss of about 17.16% unusual.
However, the Committee is unable to explicitly determine what the causes might have been be as it did not rule out the possibility of human interference and mismanagement.
Further, the committee said to have found out that, the over 2.8 million contaminated fuel that was sold between 2014 and 2017, instructions were issued by the BOST Management for the release of products from the clean tanks for the purpose of cleaning the tank.
Per the Committee findings, such instructional were highly irregular and disturbing and therefore expressed the opinion that clean products may have been deliberately downgraded and sold as slop or off-spec.
According to the committee report, “This we believe borders on criminality and may have willfully led to a major loss to BOST and to the state in the form of petroleum taxes forgone.”
The Committee also found out that the said contaminated fuel was sold to companies not licensed by the NPA to handle off-spec or slop products.
It added that its checks with the NPA indicated that the tank cleaning contracts were awarded to companies not licensed by the NPA to undertake such services.