An opposition MP has explained circumstances leading to the payment of 40.5 million cedis into the Office of the Chief of Staff’s account believed to be suspicious.

National Democratic Congress MP for Bongo constituency, Edward Abambire Bawa, said there is nothing irregular about the transfers from BOST into the account.

It was former Chief Executive at BOST, Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko who authorised the payments from August 2015 to January 2017.

In his letters, the transfers to the Chief of Staff account was “monies accrued from the security fees taken from Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) invoices to effect payments on the cost of petroleum products supplied by Goil”.

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Photo: Julius Debrah was Chief of Staff under the Mahama government.

A civil soceity group Centre for National Affairs petitioned the Special Prosecutor who investigates corruption-related activities.

Oil distributors have denied the existence of any ‘security fees’ on their invoices.

But in a press statement, Edward Bawa, formerly a PRO at the Energy Ministry said, the monies were used to pay for the cost of fuel supplied to the Ghana Armed Forces and also used for the presidential jet.

He said after the Armed Forces consistently failed to pay for fuel delivered by BOST, government took a decision to levy five pesewas on petroleum products sold by Goil to the security agencies.

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The monies were collected by BOST and paid into the account of the Chief of Staff.

Edward Bawa pointed out, there is an agenda by government to divert attention whenever the Minority raises issues with the current management of BOST.

He said discussions about the 40.5 million cedis payments are not new and was thrown in when BOST was under pressure during the contaminated fuel saga.

The NDC MP said, BOST in the past few weeks is once again under pressure to explain the unlawful payment of Three million dollars to Springfield Energy.

Government has therefore, revived the payments into the office of the Chief of Staff account as a “pathetic” way of deflecting attention, he said.

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My attention has been drawn to a story published on many media platforms that seems to suggest that, under the NDC regime, some illegal money totalling 40.5 million Ghana cedis was transferred into an account named Chief of Staff’s Sundries Account.  This is an account located and operated by the office of the chief of Staff.  The story further indicates that,  a group called  Centre of National Affairs (CNA) has actually petitioned the office of the special prosecutor to investigate the allegations.

Even though it is within the purview of the petitioners to exercise their constitutional rights to petition any legally mandated body, to investigate any issue they feel strongly about, is it not curious that this particular issue pops up anytime BOST is in the news for all the wrong reasons?

In June last year, when the sale of thefive million supposed*contaminated* fuel by BOST to an unlicensed company Movimpina and Zupoil was making the news,  this 40.5 million Ghana cedis issue was first raised. Indeed this issue was referred to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for investigation. After inviting the various officers for their statements, no one has since heard from that office.

In the past few weeks, BOST once again, is in the news for an unlawful payment of Three million dollars to Springfield Energy, and once again, the same story pops up and this time it is the turn of the office of the special prosecutor to have a bite at the cherry.*WHAT A PATHETIC WAY OF DIVERTING ATTENTION FROM ISSUES OF CORRUPTION.

I will attempt to provide the needed information for the education of the general public and to also cure the mischief by persons who will go at any length to prevent us from throwing sunlight into their corrupt practices in public office. But before I state the facts, let me observe that:

  1. The Chief of Staff’s Sundries Account is not a fake account, neither is it a private account.All monies transferred into that account and the subsequent utilisation of same are subject to audit processes just like all public funds. This point must be made forcefully.
  2. The Office of the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic of Ghana is not a fake position.Again it is important to draw people’s minds to that.

Now these are the facts as I know them:

  1. Over the years, the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) had an arrangement to supply fuel to the Military. Unfortunately the military have not been able to keep to their side of the bargain in ensuring that, timely payments are made for these product.The level of indebtedness had risen to a point that, the BDCs stopped supplying fuel to them.
  2. At this point the State had to intervene and allow BOST, who had and still has the responsibility to ensure and assure fuel security in the country, to assume the supply of fuel products to the military.
  3. After the company had made a number of regular monthly supplies, probably in the region of 6 or 7 months, its attention was drawn to the fact thatit was not an OMC. As such, BOST could not supply fuel directly to the security agencies. BOST therefore entered into an arrangement with GOIL, an OMG, where fuel was supplied to the security agencies via Go Energy and GOIL.
  4. It is important to note that BOST was already supplying products to GOIL through the Strategic Reserve Petroleum Program initiated somewhere in 2015. This was a program where BOST engaged in limited trading. The main offtaker of the products of BOST was GOIL.
  5. The arrangement was that, BOST will supply fuel to GOIL and they will in turn supply to the Military.
  6. Once again the military started defaulting on their payments to GOIL and as a consequence,GOILwasalso not meeting their payments to BOST. At this point all the stakeholders realised that the military had a financing problem.
  7. Therefore a decision was made that, under the Strategic Reserve Petroleum Program which had only GOIL as the offtaker, a cost item named *securities*be introduced in the cost build up for the products lifted by GOIL from BOST.  This cost item wasfive(5)pesewas per litre. And this was to be used to pay for the cost of fuel to selected security services including the military. It was also to cater for other operational needs of the presidency.. For instance the fuelling of the presidential jet.
  8. The management of BOST thus ensured that all approvals were obtained from the board to allow them put 5 pesewas per litre on top of all sales made by the company out of the Strategic Reserve Petroleum Program . Suffice it to say that approvals were granted at all levels to protect the legitimacy of the transaction.
  9. Soit is understandable thatoil companies will deny any40.5 million payment that ended up in the chief of Staff’s office. This is because they were not part of the Strategic Reserve Petroleum Program.
  10. It was also decided that this fund be lodged in the Chief of Staff’s Sundries Account. As such, at the end of every month, BOST would look at the cash that had accrued into that fund(bearing in mind that, the cash accruing into this fund did not belong to BOST  and could not be used by the company) and duly pay the accrual  into the designated account for the funds: *The Chief of Staff’s Sundries Account*
  11. Thisfund was used for paying for the cost of fuel for security agencies and other national security operations.
  12. It is therefore not the case that this money was transferred for private use. There are enough documentations to explain this transaction and anyone who cares to know can always get them from persons who are leaking these documents to the public.

Let me conclude by stating that, Ghanaians are interested in a BOST that can prosecute its mandate in ensuring and assuring fuel security for the country and any attempt to frustrate this noble assignment by persons whose only MOTIVATION is greed, will be forcefully resisted.