Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, has taken swipe at the Special Prosecutor, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, for slowing in prosecuting the scandal that hit Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) and two other private firms.
According to Mr Bentil, the sluggish speed with which the special prosecutor was handling the request to investigate the sale of some 1.8 million off-spec fuel to Movenpina and Zup Oil, was worrying.
“This is one of the things that’s disappointing about the Special Prosecutor. This is why we all fought for them to be put in place…” the private legal practitioner said this at the weekend on News File on Joy FM which was monitored by Today.
It would be recalled that the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) last year led by its Chief Executive Officer, Duncan Amoah, petitioned the Martin Amidu-headed office in what it claimed was a case of causing financial loss to the state at BOST.
According to Duncan Amoah, Ghana lost in excess of Ghc30million in revenue when BOST decided to sell 1.8 million barrels of crude oil to BB Energy, an unlicensed company.
The losses, he insisted, were recorded at every stage of the value chain from the sale of the crude, to fees for holding the rest of the crude.
The transaction which was undertaken in September 2017, followed a major scandal involving the sale of some five million litres of contaminated fuel to 38 unlicensed companies.
Duncan Amoah told journalists at that time that he did not understand why 1.8 million barrels of oil was sold when the initial volume procured was 2 million barrels.
Following the removal of Alfred Obeng Boateng as BOST CEO, his replacement, George Okley instituted a committee that investigated the contaminated fuel saga. The committee in its report described the involvement of the former management of BOST in the incident as criminal.
However, the only action to have been taken by the Office of the Special Prosecutor was a letter to the petitioner, acknowledging receipt of the petition.
The Special Prosecutor also promised an action on the contents of the petition.
And that action, Mr Bentil noted, had taken too long a time to be seen.
He conceded, the petroleum sector is complex but “this shouldn’t be too difficult to determine” so we can move on.
“It is not difficult for an investigation even within a year to determine all the facts …to come to a certain conclusion,” he noted.
Contributing to the discussion, governance expert, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, said although he recognised that some attempt had been made to forestall the recurrence of the situation at BOST, the Office of “the Special Prosecutor has failed us.”
Dr. Osae who is also the Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), wanted the SP’s office to tell Ghanaians if they were facing any difficulty with their work.
“If the special prosecutor is having any difficulty in prosecutions, they should come out and tell us,” he stated.
He also wanted the SP to publish the status reports on their activities “so we can take them up on certain matters.”
Meanwhile private legal practitioner, Dr Maurice Ampaw says he is disappointed in Ghana’s Special Prosecutor.
According to him, “Mr Amidu has been idle for too long and not engaging in prosecutions as many thought”.
“We’re tired of Martin Amidu. Tell him we are tired of him. He’s been idle for too long. We’ve not seen any action from him yet. He has been turned into a zombie and sitting down without prosecuting any corrupt government official,” he made these observations last week on an Accra based Neat FM.
President Akufo-Addo established the office of the Special Prosecutor as a fulfillment of a campaign promise during the 2016 elections. The office, according to him, will fight corruption on an independent, objective and neutral basis.
There have been massive public outcries lately over the effectiveness of the office in the wake of several scandals that rocked the government, the latest being attempts by a Minister of State to bribe Starr FM journalist, Edward Adeti to kill a damning story on a Chinese Mining Company.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH
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