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Oil companies deny ¢40.5m payments that ended up in Chief of Staff account

Bulk Oil Distributors have denied paying ¢40.5m in ‘security fees’ after revelations, it ended up ‘illegally’ in the office of the Chief of Staff’s account.

Senyo Hosi who is Chief Executive of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors said on Joy FM Monday, ‘there is nothing like security fees’ in their invoices.

He said the payments made while Julius Debrah was President Mahama’s Chief of Staff is another example of politicians using BOST to make money.

A letter signed by Kwame Awuah-Darko explained that transfers were “monies accrued from the security fees taken from Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) invoices to effect payments on the cost of petroleum products supplied by Goil”.

The payments were authorised by the former BOST Chief Executive, Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko, from August 2015 to January 2017. 

The last payment was made four days to a changeover of power to the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party government.

A civil society organisation, Centre for National Affairs has petitioned the Special Prosecutor who is responsible for investigating corruption-related activities.

But Senyo Hosi said BDCs don’t take their petroleum supplies from Goil as the letter claims to have formed the basis for charging ‘security fees’.

The ¢40.5m payment is only the tip of the iceberg, he claimed and wants a wider non-political inquiry to do a thorough investigation into BOST. 

He said there is a deliberate attempt by some politically-connected actors to steal from BOST by declaring losses when it is viable enough to make a profit.

He traced this to 2015 when BOST began to import petroleum products to store and sell. But despite the demand for petroleum products, BOST has declared losses of about $300m.

Incidentally, the payments to the office of the Chief of Staff began in 2015.

“It is just too sickening”, he fumed, noting that anytime BOST makes a loss, some private persons make a profit. He said managers at BOST over the years make poor business decisions that they would never make if it were their own private business. 

Senyo Hosi said some well-functioning BDCs are managed by persons who once worked at BOST.

He decried the political culture of politicians in opposition blaming those in government for mismanaging BOST but often do very little when they get the chance to change the situation.

The Majority in Parliament in June 2017 called for a forensic investigation into BOST accusing the Kwame Awuah-Darko administration of making “colossal” payments to the Mahama presidency. 

This was after the Minority in Parliament had called for similar investigations into the ‘rotten’ tenure of Alfred Obeng Boateng appointed by the Akufo-Addo government to take over from Kwame Awuah-Darko.

While renewing the call for wider investigations into BOST, Senyo Hosi declined to follow the example of the Centre for National Affairs by petitioning relevant investigative bodies.

‘I am not Anas’ he referred to a popular investigative journalist and said state authorities know the problem and ought to proceed in dealing with the canker.

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