……Damning Committee Report Hidden For 8years Out
Decayed skeletons of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company Limited that have been hidden in its various cupboards since 2013, is returning as nemesis to haunt, as your authoritative, The Inquisitor unwraps the ghost.
It is so revealing that the report of a Committee of Enquiry set up by the then Energy Minister, Mr. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, to look into allegations of fraud, impropriety, arm-twisting, and extortion at the Accra Plains and Kumasi Depots of BOST, was never made public, as certain personalities at the time managed to place firm lead on it.
Self-same personalities who were heavily indicted in the said report are, however, today occupying sensitive positions at the nation’s strategic entity and are controlling the staff at BOST.
The committee was set up following numerous complaints by transporters, Bulk Oil Distributing Companies (BDCs), Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and other entities that deal with BOST.
Mr. John Kojo Arkorful was the Acting Managing Director whiles Alhaji Huudu Yahaya was the Chairman of Board of Directors at BOST.
However, Mr. Bagnaba Van-Gogh, who was the manager in-charge of the Accra Plains Depot (ADP), was heavily indicted by the committee in the report, which copy was intercepted by The Inquisitor.
In rather interesting turn of event after those grimy occurrences in 2013, Mr. Van-Gogh ‘gain’ promotion and is today, the General Manager of BOST in charge of Field Operations; a position now offering him direct supervision over the very depots he was indicted over.
Meanwhile, summary of the Committee’s report as submitted to Mr. Buah, on August 5, 2013, has among others stated that, APD Manager, Mr. Van-Gogh, was found to have been highly insubordinate to both the Acting Managing Director of BOST and the Acting General Manager of Operation (GMO) of BOST, therefore exercising wide discretion in the execution of his duties which aided the arm-twisting, Impropriety and extortion reported at APD.
The report stated that the APD Manager displayed no adherence to Management directives on operations dispatching, at least 120 Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs) a day as against recommended 80 and failed to comply with processes and procedure, as directed by Management.
In the report, it was stated that BDCs interviewed confirmed paying monies to BOST officials including the Depot Manager, in lobbying for space as it was cheaper than what would have been paid for demurrage, idle time charges by Tema Offshore and occupancy fees of $1,500; adding that, the BDCs felt delays at APD were deliberately done by staff to aid the extortion of monies.
Per the committee report, extortion of monies as confirmed by BDCs, OMCs and Tanker drivers were paid to Depot Managers, staff, Customs Officers and other security officers at the depots.
In addition, the report stated that there appeared to have been collusion between BOST staff and Custom Officers at both APD and the Kumasi Depot.
The committee found out that Management and Board, despite being made aware of the deals at the depots, failed to develop any mechanism or strategies to counter the vices.
Apart from that, the report said that the APD operated long hours well beyond the approved 8:30pm closing time, sometime closing after midnight or 1:00am. Staff were not always paid for the extended hours, though.
Mr. Van-Gogh, the report said, didn’t follow reporting times for work and often worked via instructions to his subordinates by phone. His supervising officers wouldn’t take work initiatives without his instruction.
Mr. Van-Gogh, according to the report, denied allegations of being unmanageable or insubordinate or extorting any money, when he appeared before the committee accompanied by his lawyers.
The report said that activities of Mr. Van-Gogh, appears to have been aided by high political linkage or association exhibited by institutions from Ghana’s Presidency to halt Management directive on leave and other issues.
The committee report said there appeared to be consistent interference of the Board in Management affairs and decisions, adding that management’s weak approach gave the Depot Managers latitude to conduct business at their own discretion.