Frema Osei Opare
OCCUPYGHANA, a social and political non-partisan pressure group, has called for full-scale investigations into findings of the 2017 report of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), which alleges a number of illegal deals that took place in the industry.
In a petition copied to the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, OccupyGhana said after carefully studying the 2017 CBOD report, there was the need to investigate the reported petroleum product smuggling, re-export and premix dumping, unlawful profiteering, tax evasion and financial reporting inconsistency at BOST, among others.
It said the report, which it believed had 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, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Office of the President.”
“We note with concern the alleged revenue losses amounting to GH¢1.4 billion in the loss of over 800-thousand metric tonnes of subsidized fuel.
“If true, this is completely unacceptable. Also worrying is the allegation that about GH¢5.2 million was lost to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) from diversions of 230 illegitimately subsidized premix trucks.”
It said the CBOD report alleged losses due to increased smuggling activities along the country’s coasts, under-invoicing, illegal tax and regulatory margins, ESLA under-reporting, special petroleum tax (SPT) transfer pricing, deliberate inefficiencies and illegalities at BOST.
It further highlighted 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.”
OccupyGhana commented: “If any persons are found to have engaged in these acts, we would urge the prosecution of all criminally culpable elements within the petroleum value chain to the full extent permissible by law, no matter who these culpable elements may be.”
In June, this year, Alfred Obeng Boateng, Managing Director of BOST, was sacked by President Akufo-Addo after reports that five million liters of contaminated fuel was sold to two unlicensed companies – Movenpinaa and Zup Oil.
The two entities were allegedly established just days before the sale. The fuel contamination saga was publicized in June last year.
By Samuel Boadi