Being more transparent is our priority now - BOST

By Clement Edward Kumsah
BOST

The management of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited, BOST says restructuring to become more transparent and accountable is the company priority now.

BOST says, from henceforth the company is not taking any concerns over alleged malfeasance lightly and as such it welcomes calls for a thorough investigation and audit to be conducted into some alleged smuggling of petroleum products and other irregularities the company has allegedly been involved in.

The statement from BOST comes after, Pressure group, OccupyGhana (OG), petitioned Chief of Staff Frema Opare, to investigate circumstances that led to the alleged smuggling of petroleum products, re-exporting, premix dumping, unlawful profiteering, tax evasion and financial reporting inconsistencies at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company Limited.

A statement signed by Kwaku Segbefia on Monday, 16 July, said: “OccupyGhana® has received and studied the 2017 industry report of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD). The report, which we believe has been submitted to the Offices of the President and Vice-President as well as Parliament alleges over a dozen infractions and breaches of the law by, and indicts unnamed officials of National Security, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Office of the President.

“We note with concern the alleged revenue losses amounting to GHS 1.4 billion in the loss of over 800-thousand metric tonnes of subsidised fuel. If true, this is completely unacceptable. Also worrying is the allegation that about GHS 5.2 million was lost to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) from diversions of 230 illegitimately subsidised premix trucks.”

The statement added: “The CBOD alleges losses due to increased smuggling activities along our coasts, under-invoicing, illegal tax and regulatory margins, ESLA under-reporting, Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) transfer pricing, deliberate inefficiencies and illegalities at BOST, unlawful profiteering, tax evasion and export dumping. But what we find even more troubling is the claim that these are happening with the connivance and complicity of officials in the Office of the President, in National Security, and in GRA.

“In the interest of the principles of probity, accountability and transparency, we write to request that full scale criminal and highly forensic investigations are conducted into the alleged findings in the CBOD Report".

However, reacting to the OcupyGhana’s statement, the Managing Director of BOST, George Mensah Okley, said also in a statement on Monday that: “The attention of the management has been brought to a publication relating to a letter written by the pressure group, Occupy Ghana to the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare asking for investigations into alleged activities of smuggling and illegal dealings raised by the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distribution (CBOD).

“While we are yet to be served with a copy of the said letter we wish to state that management has seriously taken note of the concerns of OccupyGhana as noted in the various media publications. We wish to assure the general public that the current management considers it a priority to radically restructure our business to make it more transparent and accountable. BOST is currently in the process of implementing more effective corporate governance measures aimed at ensuring that management is better placed to deal with the current challenges that the industry is bedeviled with.”

The statement added: “As part of the ongoing transformation, we wish to emphasize that management is committed to ensuring that all investigations and audit relating to the alleged irregularities will be conducted in the most open and transparent manner.

“We welcome suggestions and concerns of all well-meaning public-spirited Ghanaian on how best to improve our business for the betterment of the nation.”

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