IMANI Africa Vice President, Kofi Bentil feels disappointed that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is yet to act on a petition, regarding the scandal that involved Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) and two other private firms.
Kofi Bentil says the sluggish speed with which the Special Prosecutor is handling the request to investigate the sale of some 1.8million off-spec fuel to Movenpina and Zup Oil, is worrying.
“This is one of the things that’s disappointing about the Special Prosecutor. This is why we all fought for them to be put in place…” the private legal practitioner expressed Saturday, May 4, on JoyNews weekly analysis programme, Newsfile.
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) led by its CEO, Duncan Amoah, petitioned the Martin Amidu-headed office early 2018, in what it claims is a case of causing financial loss to the state at BOST.
According to Duncan Amoah, Ghana lost in excess of ?30million in revenue when BOST decided to sell 1.8 million barrels of crude oil to BB Energy, an unlicensed company. The losses, he insisted, were recorded at every stage of the value chain from the sale of the crude, to fees for holding the rest of the crude.
The transaction which was undertaken in September 2017, followed a major scandal involving the sale of some five million litres of contaminated fuel to 38 unlicensed companies. Duncan Amoah, told Joy News he does not understand why 1.8 million barrels of oil was sold when the initial volume procured was 2 million barrels.
Following the removal of Alfred Obeng Boateng as BOST CEO, his replacement, George Okley instituted a committee that investigated the contaminated fuel saga. The committee in its report described the involvement of the former management of BOST in the incident as criminal.
However, the only action to have been taken by the Office of the Special Prosecutor -led by former Attorney-General, Martin Amidu, who was sworn-into office on February 23, 2018-, was a letter to the petitioner, acknowledging receipt of the petition.
The Special Prosecutor also promised an action on the contents of the petition. And that action, Bentil notes, has taken too long a time to be seen. He concedes, the petroleum sector is complex but “this shouldn’t be too difficult to determine” so we can move on.
“It is not difficult for an investigation even within a year to determine all the facts …to come to a certain conclusion,” he noted.
SP has failed us – Oduro Osae
Contributing to the discussion, governance expert, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, said although he recognises that some attempt had been made to forestall the recurrence of the situation at BOST, the Office of “the Special Prosecutor has failed us.”
Dr Eric Oduro Osae
Dr. Osae who is also the Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), wants the SP’s office to tell Ghanaians if they are facing any difficulty with their work.
“If the special prosecutor is having any difficulty in prosecutions, they should come out and tell us,” he stated.
He also wants the SP to publish the status reports on their activities “so we can take them up on certain matters.”