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News Review

Weekly News Review 12-16th March

  • SOURCE: | Baaba Daniels
  • Welcome to our weekly news wrap up edition. We hope you have a wonderful reading experience as always.

    The week began with a bang with most of our major newspapers covering the most sensational story in the industry. The Herald newspaper, myjoyonline and 3News among others report of a tussle between the managing director of Ghana’s Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST), Alfred Obeng Boateng and the chief executive of COPEC, Duncan Amoah. It was alleged by Duncan Amoah that the MD of BOST has contracted some persons to assassinate him for uncovering an alleged shady deal at BOST. According to the report Mr Duncan alleged a sale of 1.8million barrels of crude oil by BOST to an unlicensed company, thereby, causing the state to lose about $5.3m. Read more here

    In addition, in a swift reaction, the management of BOST issued an official statement to rebut the allegation made by COPEC. It was indicated in the statement that the board members would on Monday meet to take a decision on the allegation of ‘shady deal’ leveled against the company. COPEC had alleged that BOST had short-changed the state of about GHS23 million by selling off some 1.8m barrels of crude to BB Energy in September 2017. However, a source at BOST described the allegation as “unfortunate and misleading,” adding “the Board will meet tomorrow to take a decision on that.” Read more here

    The story continued to unravel during the course of the week, as the public outcry grew louder with most calling for his resignation. Joseph Yamin, erstwhile the Ashanti regional deputy minister called for the outright dismissal of the Managing Director of BOST. Mr Yamin challenged the President, Nana Akufo Addo to relieve the BOST MD of his position immediately, and that failure to do so would only confirm accusations made by Kennedy Agyapong that the BOST MD offered him; the president, money during his 2016 campaign. Click here to read more.

    Further investigation of the story revealed that the company, BB Energy, which was sold the crude oil, was unlicensed and would have needed to secure its license permit from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) in order to trade in Ghana. According to BOST, the company was not required by the laws of Ghana to attain a license. This claim was rubbished by Edward Bawa, a member of Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee. “The [NPA Act] indicates clearly that to handle hydrocarbon materials, you will need a permission. BB Energy is buying the product from BOST and that’s trading. The Act indicates clearly that before you engage in such an exercise, you will need to have a permit,” he remarked. Read more here

     BOST continued to maintain its position despite the public backlash and demanded that oil trade was not a simple matter. Energy consultant Nasib Akil commented that “We have become experts in oil trade just as we have become experts at football” as he bemoaned the growing number of “experts” on the issue matter. He stated this at a press conference held on Tuesday addressed by the Head of Trade Department at BOST Albert Martey. “You have to come here and understand. We are willing to teach you about the nitty gritty of this trade so that when you go out there you will make accurate pronouncements,” Mr Martey added. To read the full story, click here

    In another twist on the BOST story, the Ministry of Energy has questioned the credibility of the allegations made by COPEC, referring to the claims made as unsubstantiated. The Head of Communications at the Ministry, Nana Kofi Damoah described the media’s coverage on the issue as disturbing and worrying. He shed more light on the long-standing history of COPEC resorting to the slander of BOST in the media against the option of seeking clarity from the Ministry on issues of energy. He also remarked that the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), another civil society group, is more credible than COPEC. “The track record of COPEC is extremely questionable. Their actions over the years go beyond the arena of civil society group into propaganda machinery” he said. Click here for more.

    Moving away from the BOST saga, 3news reported on the government’s commitment to focus on developing opportunities in the country’s renewable energy sector to reduce dependency on the use of fossil fuel. President Nana Addo Danquah made this known at the maiden founder’s conference of the International Solar Alliance in Delhi, India. The president promised that Ghana would embrace solar, alternative source of energy, to enhance prosperity, energy security and sustainable development. The conference attracted 90 countries from all over the world. 60 countries agreed to treaty with some 24 others, including Ghana, assented and ratified to ensure the use of solar energy across the world. Read more here

    The Finder newspaper reported on the grim possibility that Ghana may be short-changed on the Exxonmobil deal. The story forecasted that the arrival of oil giant, Exxonmobil would bring with it other international Oil Companies as itself. The paper bemoaned the loopholes in the country’s regulatory regime and institution and the looming threat of being strong-armed by Exxonmobil, a company whose annual turnover is several times the size of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and recorded approximately US$219 billion in 2016. The report further warned that the challenges Ghana faced with Kosmos Energy over proprietary data, spill of light toxic mud, right of first refusal among others should serve as a guide in dealing with Exxonmobil. Read more here

    Here are moe interesting stories reported during the week:

    COPEC boss claims BOST MD wants him “killed in 3 days” –

    BOST denies alleged GHC23m ‘shady’ deal; Board meets on Monday –

    Ghana will reduce dependency on fossil fuel – Akufo-Addo –

    GOIL, court registrar, others sued over property sale –

    BOST accused of causing financial loss to state in sale of 1.8m barrels of crude –

    I’ll face BOST MD in court over ‘death threat’- Duncan Amoah –

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