Pieces of information are gradually emerging to explain why the Union Chairman of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST), Bernard Owusu has been strenuously defending the current management of the strategic national asset over allegations of gross mismanagement and profligate expenditure.
Documentary evidence available to the Publisher indicated that the Managing Director (MD) of BOST, Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko allocated about 100,000 litres of Slop oil to the union chairman at a knockdown price for him to sell and make some cash.
Available information indicated that the MD sold the commodity to the union chairman at the price of GH¢1.5 instead of GH¢2.0.
What was even surprising, according to some BOST workers, was the fact that even when some companies applied to purchase the oil at GH¢2.0, Mr. Awuah-Darko sold the product to them at GH¢1.5.
The workers have told the Publisher that the MD allocated the oil to the union chairman as an enticement to keep the chairman on the side of management should the company’s aggrieved workers agitate against the MD.
According to them, Bernard Owusu has always jumped to the defence of management anytime workers protested against the MD and his team, virtually acting as the public relations officer for management. A letter dated April 8, 2015 by Mr. Awuah-Darko titled RE: APPLICATION TO PURCHASE SLOP and addressed to the union chairman stated that “We refer to your letter dated 27th March, 2015 on the above subject and wish to inform you that approval has been granted for you to purchase 100,000 litres of Slop Oil from the Buipe Depot at a cost of GH¢1.5 per litre (total cost GH¢150,000).
“You are to contact the Terminal Operations Manager at Buipe Depot who will arrange the release of Slop Oil. Find Invoice attached.”
Attempts to get the union chairman react to the story proved futile as he failed to respond to a text message from the paper at the time of going to press.
In a related development, Sure Gas Limited in a letter dated 10th March, 2015, also applied for the purchase of Slop Oil at the cost of GH¢2.00 per litre.
“We offer to purchase the slop at GH¢2.00 per litre if we are invited to participate in the sale,” Sure Gas’ Managing Director Isaac Ackah stated. However, even though the company made a proposal to purchase the product at GH¢2.00 per litre, the BOST MD strangely reduced the price to GH¢1.5 per litre.
“We refer to your letter dated 10th March, 2015 on the above subject and wish to inform you that approval has been granted for your company to purchase 100,000 litres of Slop Oil from Buipe Depot at a cost of GH¢1.5 per litre,” BOST MD Awuah-Darko replied.
A similar reduction was granted to another company, Transloges Limited in a letter dated 31st March, 2015.
It would be recalled that a few months ago, the union chairman, Bernard Owusu defended the MD and his management when this paper carried a story that there was an attempt to cover up issues at BOST, as well as alleged fraud, arm-twisting and impropriety at the company.
The union chairman also defended Mr. Awuah-Darko when the MD contracted TSL, a Ghanaian subsidiary of Nigerian-owned firm to operate, maintain and manage BOST’s petroleum terminals in the country after the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) had kicked against the deal.
The Chief Executive Officer of the chamber of BDCs, Senyo Hosi, had argued that the outsourcing of the facilities to TSL was in blatant disregard of Ghana’s Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663) by Sole Sourcing the Nigerian company to the exclusion of other competitors.
Just a few days ago, the union chairman and his partners at a hurriedly arranged news conference, stoutly defended the MD following a series of publications that the current BOST management is dissipating public funds in office accommodation as well as the leaking of a draft report by Ernst & Young on operations of BOST to some selected media houses, out of which stories were coordinated against the BDCs.