Minority to push for parliamentary inquiry into missing fuel scandal at TOR

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The Minority in Parliament has said it will push for a parliamentary inquiry into the disappearance of fuel, product storage, and transfer losses at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

In a statement, it said it did not trust the government to conduct a transparent probe into the matter.

“The Minority wishes to serve notice that it will not sit unconcerned for…Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to plunge the only oil refinery in the country into comatose,” it stated.

“We, therefore, wish to serve notice that we shall, in the coming weeks, trigger the appropriate rules and processes for a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into this broad daylight thievery and embarrassing spectacle.”

Aside from the intent to cause a parliamentary probe, the Minority also called on the government to appoint non-partisan persons onto the management and governing board of the refinery.

It also wants government to stop “the unnecessary political interferences in the operations of the refinery”.

The issues of the refinery came to light when TOR publicised its interdiction of some of its staff pending the conclusion of investigations into the disappearance of fuel, product storage, and transfer losses at the refinery.

The interdiction was part of the recommendations by an interim management committee, which was inaugurated in June 2021, to oversee the affairs of the company as part of the government’s efforts to restructure the company.

The investigations by the committee disclosed that there were a number of incidents related to product storage and transfer losses, including but not limited to the disappearance of 105,927 litres of gas oil on September 4, 2021.

In addition, there was also the disappearance of 18 drums of electrical cables worth GH¢10.4 million from the Technical Storehouse of TOR, which was discovered in April 2021.

There was also the loss of Naphtha to a BDC client and the wrongful loading of 252,000 litres of Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK), instead of regular Kerosene into BRV Trucks  between September 21 and 25, 2021.”

In losses predating this government, there was also the detection of LPG belonging to a client between 2012 and 2015, as a result of which TOR became indebted to the client to the tune of $4.8 million.

These revelations followed the three-member interim management committee conducting a financial and technical audit as part of efforts to revamp the refinery.

Find below the full statement

MINORITY CAUCUS TO LAUNCH PARLIAMENTARY PROBE INTO THE MISSING OIL SCANDAL AT TOR.

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has noted with disgust the unexplained disappearance of 105,927 litres of Gas Oil, a wrongful loading of 252,000 litres of Aviation Turbine Kerosene, the disappearance of 18 drums of electrical cables, the disappearance of LPG and loss of Naphtha. The estimated cost of the stolen items is in excess of GHS42 million, that is, excluding the value of the Naphtha.

This unfortunate development comes on the heels of several corruption scandals that have characterized the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP Government particularly, in the energy sector which is fast becoming a sector noted for naked thievery and flagrant disregard for due processes.

The Tema Oil Refinery has its standard operating procedures requiring the daily briefing to management on stock accounting and inventory, which confirms to management the total quantity and quality in their tanks and the identities of parties who own such stocks. It is therefore untenable to hear of such huge losses without any tangible explanation.

This scandal raises issues of dereliction of duty on the part of the management of the Company, which require parliamentary inquiry.

Since 2017, the Tema Oil Refinery has been mismanaged into a state of comatose, with its attendant appointment of 4 different Chief Executive Officers. Indeed, it is becoming obvious that the refinery is gradually moving into a state of total collapse. This is why the current Government has proposed to turn it into a Tank farm.

Prior to leaving office in January 2017, the NDC/Mahama government had initiated, implemented and managed the restructuring of the entire refinery operations. In our quest to revamp the refinery, the NDC procured Nine (9) million barrels of crude to be refined, including an indigenous crude from the TEN fields in Ghana.

The Refinery was saved millions of dollars by restructuring its existing debt of $650 million which we inherited and reduced it by 300million dollars. This was done through the issuance of the Tema Oil Refinery Bond in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Petroleum to pay off four (4) Commercial Banks.

As a matter of fact, the NDC/Mahama government bequeathed crude oil worth $2million including the TEN crude to the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government when we were leaving office in January 2017.TOR got a tolling fee on this crude oil to help finance its operations. Sadly, this crude oil was disposed of under very opaque and suspicious circumstances by the Akuffo Addo/Bawunia led NPP government.

Additionally, the NDC/Mahama government attracted the largest single investment in the downstream industry in Ghana’s recent years for the Tema Offshore Mooring Systems, now called the Ghana Petroleum Mooring Systems (GPMS). An amount of $110million was brought into the TOR through this structure as at December 2016, a balance of $90million was in TOR accounts when the NDC government left office.

Despite these major interventions, TOR incurred a loss of $24 million-plus, after processing just 950,000 barrels of crude which was enough to plunge TOR into further debt, leading to a forced shutdown of the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) on the morning of Friday 30th November 2018, largely due to poor management and political interferences.

It is sad to note that the managers of the refinery failed to adequately find off-takers for the refined products before sourcing for the crude, thus rendering the products “stranded” in tanks. This bizarre business module means the refinery made huge losses as prices kept falling on the global commodity market and giving room for siphoning of the products.

The Minority wishes to serve notice that it will not sit unconcerned for greedy and self-seeking Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to plunge the only oil refinery in the country into comatose.

We are well aware of the cover-up in the BOST scandal and cannot, therefore, trust this Government to conduct any fair, transparent and unbiased investigation. We, therefore, wish to serve notice that we shall in the coming weeks, trigger the appropriate rules and processes for a full-scale Parliamentary inquiry into this broad daylight thievery and embarrassing spectacle.

In the meantime, we wish to call on government to appoint competent personnel devoid of partisan parochial interest onto the management and governing Board of the refinery, and also desist from the unnecessary political interferences in the operations of the refinery.

Signed,
John Abdulai Jinapor- MP for Yapei Kusawgu and Ranking Member for Mines and Energy

Source: citinewsroom