The Member of Parliament for Bongo, Edward Bawa has suggested that the Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko’s decision to exonerate the CEO of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) of any wrongdoing in the contaminated fuel saga was made “under duress”.
According to him, the Energy Minister’s call might have been influenced by orders from senior figures in government.
A BNI and National Security report cleared the current CEO of BOST of any wrongdoing in the matter, and those comments were echoed by the Boakye Agyarko at a press conference.
This conclusion was made before the Committee set up to investigate the matter had commenced their probe.
There had been calls from the Minority for the current MD to step aside for investigations to proceed without external influence.
But the Energy Minister stated at the press conference that “on the basis of previous practice, there was no wrongdoing at BOST on the sale of the 5 million litres of contaminated products.”
This was in reference to the reports which revealed that 38 unlicensed companies had also purchased contaminated fuel from 2014 to 2016, while the NDC were in power.
However, Edward Bawa, who is also a member of the Energy Committee in Parliament, believes that the Energy Minister had been forced to announce the innocence of the BOST MD despite the fact that he had entrusted the 8-member Committee with the mandate to investigate the matter:
Speaking on Citi FM‘s news analysis programme, The Big Issue the MP said: “Listening to the voice of the Minister and knowing who he is, I know he made the announcement with a lot of reluctance. [He made it] under duress.
Obviously, it’s not a junior official who’ll put pressure on him to make the decision. I feel that the man believe in the process he had put in place. He believed in the fact that the Committee he had set up had the capacity to unravel the mystery surrounding this whole transaction.”
“The Minister of Energy set up a Committee to investigate the matter based on institutional representation. I was one of the people who commented the setup of the Committee. It had someone from TOR, people from Ghana Standards Board because of standards requirements the BDCs, Civil Society and the BNI. We felt the composition of the Committee was good.”
According to him, it was curious that the BNI, which was supposed to have had a member on the Committee, conducted separate investigation and came out with a report before the Committee had even started work.
“The BNI was supposed to have been represented on the Committee then suddenly they said it had come out with its own findings. It looks like the whole idea of the BNI report was a one-item term of reference to exonerate the [Bost MD]. There were a lot of things that went on at BOST.”
The Minister of Energy set up a Committee to investigate the matter based on institutional representation. I was one of the people who commended the setup of the Committee. It had someone from TOR, people from Ghana Standards Board because of standards requirements the BDCs, Civil Society and the BNI. We felt the composition of the Committee was good.
Edward Bawa also denied suggestions that similar incidents had happened under the NDC, stating that there was only on istance of contamination of fuel under NDC which was dealt with promptly and properly by BOST.
“The last time there was contamination at BOST until January 18, was in December 24, 2013. The quantity was 200, 000 litres. BOST treated the product and sold it at market value,” he said.
The BNI report, however, has been criticised by several observer groups including policy think tank IMANI Africa and anti-corruption group Occupy Ghana, who described it as deficient.
Think-tank CDD have also called for fresh, external investigations into the issue