Ghana: Brouhaha over contaminated fuel, Eid celebrations highlighted in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – A huge controversy over some five million litres of contaminated fuel and last Monday’s Muslim Eid-ul-Fitr celebration were some of the stories that were highlighted by the Ghanaian media this week.

The state-owned Graphic newspaper in a story under the headline, “Contaminated fuel generates controversy” said reports of the purported release of five million litres of contaminated fuel onto the market by the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company Limited have stirred intense controversy among stakeholders in the oil industry.

It said while the Ministry of Energy has taken steps to investigate the claim, BOST has denied that there is contaminated oil on the market and rather defended its decision to sell the contaminated fuel to a private company.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament, which has joined the fray, has accused the Managing Director of BOST, Mr Alfred Obeng Boateng, of causing financial loss of 14.25 million Ghana cedis to the state through the contamination of the fuel and the subsequent sale of the product to a private company. (US$1= 4.40 Ghana cedis)

The Graphic quoted the Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, as saying the ministry is immediately setting up a committee to investigate the process and transaction of the matter.

He said the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has already submitted its interim report, which will feed into the investigation.

Mr Boateng is alleged to have evacuated five million litres of the contaminated product in Tank 121 at the Accra Plains Depot (APD) to Movenpinaa/ZUPOIL without recourse to due process or duty of care to the consumer.

Analysts have pegged the revenue loss to the state as a result of the transaction at 12.57 million Ghana cedis, the Graphic reported.

This is because BOST had stated that it sold the product at 1.30 Ghana cedis per litre, implying that at a pump price of 3.85 Ghana cedis per litre on the market, 12.57 million Ghana cedis has been lost by the state.

For its part, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) said the transaction was extremely worrying, especially at a time when, following a clean fuel campaign there was stakeholder consensus to change the regulated sulphur content from the current 3000ppm to 50ppm, effective 1 July, 2017.

“ACEP can confirm that the reported off-spec product is an accidental blend of petrol and diesel which occurred when a petrol flow-line was misdirected into a diesel tank during a discharge of petrol cargo into the Accra Plains Depot.

“This obviously contaminated the petrol and made it unfit to run in any automobile engine,” a statement signed by the Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Benjamin Boakye, said.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times newspaper reported under the headline, “Minority calls for investigation into sale of contaminated oil,” that the Minority in Parliament has called for a full-scale investigation into what it called “blatant corruption” at BOST.

It said the call comes on the heels of revelations that five million litres of contaminated oil have been sold to a company under “dubious and bizarre circumstances”.

Apart from the investigations, the Minority has also called for the immediate interdiction of the BOST boss, Alfred Obeng Boateng, and immediate withdrawal of the contaminated oil from the market.

According to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus, the financial loss to the country hovers around 14.25 million Ghana cedis and it wants the money retrieved and persons behind the deal surcharged.

The Minority said the company that bought the contaminated fuel, Movenpiina, put in a proposal to purchase the fuel on 19 May this year even before it was incorporated on 29 May.

The pro-government Daily Guide newspaper in its story under the headline, “Gov’t Probes BOST Fuel Deal” said the Ministry of Energy has set up an 8-member ministerial committee to investigate circumstances under which large quantities of contaminated fuel (dirty oil) were reportedly released by BOST Limited to private companies for distribution.

The committee’s responsibility is to advise the ministry on the necessary technical, administrative and legal actions to be taken with regard to the matter, which has attracted much public attention.

It has been given one month to come out with its findings, with five mandates.

It is to ascertain what caused the adulteration of the fuel; review the procedures undertaken by BOST to evacuate the product; as well as ascertain the quality and remaining quantity of the product.

“Don’t allow ideologues to pervert Islam - President tells Muslims,” was the headline of the Graphic on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s speech at the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr in Accra on Monday.

The president advised Muslims to be wary of ideologues who may want to pervert a beautiful religion such as Islam for selfish and destructive ends.

He said religion was a double-edged sword that could be invoked for destructive purposes and, therefore, urged Muslims to continue to hold hands in brotherhood and unity, since that was the essence of Islam.

“Whether you are Ahl-Sunna, Tijaniyya, Shia or Ahmadiyya, I remind you of the words of Allah, as captured in Quran Chapter 3:103: ‘And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah stretches out to you, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for you were enemies and he joined your hearts in love, so that by his grace you became brethren…,’” he said.
-0- PANA MA 1July2017

01 july 2017 11:38:07

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