The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), has charged anti-corruption bodies such as the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) and the Special Prosecutor’s Office to apply more pressure in their fight against corruption especially in the oil and gas sector.
The call is in line with recommendations made by the committee set up to investigate the loss of off-specification (off-spec) petroleum products belonging to the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST).
Speaking to Citi Business News on the measures needed to rid companies like BOST of corruption, the Executive Director of the COPEC, Duncan Amoah said the prosecution of guilty individuals and groups is critical to prevent future cases of malfeasance in the oil and gas space.
“The problem of corruption goes beyond BOST, it’s with most public oil and gas companies. The losses they make due to their mismanagement ends up becoming debt in the energy sector which are passed on to us at the pumps. The time has come to bring the people in these institutions causing financial loss to the state to book. Because if we don’t do that to deter others, then the rot will continue.”
BOST Committee recommendations
The committee set up to investigate the loss of off-specification petroleum products (off-spec) has urged the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) to investigate the sale of contaminated fuel between 2014 and 2017 to ensure clean products were not deliberately downgraded as contaminated and sold at a loss to BOST and the Ghana Revenue Authority.
The committee which suspects wrongdoings within the period pointed out that the country possibly lost petroleum taxes through the dealings.
“We estimate that about GHS1.52 million may have been lost to BOST,” the report said adding that “losses in petroleum taxes have not been estimated.”
The Committee was chaired by Senyo Hosi, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD).
Making more recommendations, the Committee asked BOST to strictly adopt the options to reprocess or blend in the event of an occurrence of off-spec products.
“Off-spec products are not market saleable products and as such, the integrity of the management of its processes must be maintained to ensure consumers are not harmed by any forms of diversions to the open market. Where required, the off-spec products should only be sold to refineries with the capacity to reprocess or blend,” it directed.
The Committee stated that it was advised by the National Petroleum Authority and the Chairman of a Ministerial Committee that investigated the occurrence of this contaminated product (off-spec products) that recommendations in respect of the sub-section had already been made in their report. Even though the committee requested for the report through the BOST management, it said that it is yet to receive a copy.
The report noted that on the advice of the Ministerial Committee Chairman and the NPA CEO, it recommended that BOST reviews the recommendations in the Ministerial Committee report and augment them by the recommendations in the report, particularly, recommendations 7, 8 and 10.
“These we believe should culminate into a revised BOST Standard Operating Manual (SOM) for the management of off-spec products”.
It added that BOST must engage the National Petroleum Authority to develop an industry-wide protocol for the management of off-spec products in line with industry best practices.