Serious confusion has rocked Ghana’s presidency, the Jubilee House, over the appointments of certain individuals into state institutions, departments and agencies without the knowledge of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who has the sole prerogative.
The latest, which is causing tension and leading to government and insiders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) asking whether Nana Akufo-Addo was truly in-charge of the country, is the appointment of former Ambassador to China, Edward Boateng, as Managing Director (MD) of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
Although, Mr Boateng, was widely reported in the media somewhere in August this year, that he had been appointed by President Akufo-Addo as MD of TOR, he is still at home, because the President is not in support of the purported appointment.
Sources told this paper that the President, who has the power to hire and fire, was absolutely unaware of Mr Boateng’s so-called appointment, forcing him to withhold the appointment, as he was not happy about the development.
The development has generated confusion at the presidency and the Ministry of Energy; this has left many wondering, about the individuals in government, who are behind the illegal appointments at the blind side of President Akufo-Addo.
It is, however, unclear whether the President’s refusal to give Mr Boateng the green light to take up the TOR MD position, has something to do with his performance as Ghana’s ambassador to China, particularly government’s embarrassing inability to access the much-trumpeted bauxite-backed-Sinohydro-loan.
The media houses that extensively reported on Mr Boateng’s appointment included; state-owned Daily Graphic, Gabby Otchere Darko’s Asaase Radio news portal, Citifmonline, Ghanaweb, Business & Financial Times among others. But as to who actually engineered the appointment and caused the announcement to be made in the media, remains a mystery.
The motivations of those behind the publications also remain a mystery. Others are also asking about how many of such appointments have been made in the name of President Akufo-Addo without his knowledge and blessings, especially looking at how such appointments are always announced when he is out of the country.
But what is more intriguing, is the fact that the former diplomat’s announcement as TOR MD came long before the likes of Sammy Awuku as the Director-General of National Lottery Authority (NLA) as well as the appointment of the former Ghana’s High Commissioner to India, Mike Oquaye Jnr as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Free Zones Authority.
The Herald is informed, Mr Boateng’s absence at TOR due to President Akufo-Addo’s decision not to allow him there, explains why the Energy Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, quickly formed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the affairs of a dying refinery as part of efforts to restructure and revamp the place, until the issues regarding the appointment of a substantive Director is resolved.
Indeed, it was this 3-member IMC, chaired by Nobert Cormla-Djamposu Anku with other members such as William Ntim Boadu and Okyere Baffuor Sarpong that uncovered the massive thievery happening at the refinery leading to the interdiction of some staff, and the ongoing investigations.
Following the theft issue, some media houses have linked these criminal activities to the former Ambassador, Edward Boateng, but he has quickly issued a strongly-worded statement to deny any involvement.
In his rebuttal sighted by The Herald, Mr Boateng indicated that, even though he has been appointed, he is yet to assume office as Managing Director of TOR, saying that the accusations against him are malicious and calculated to harm his hard-earned reputation.
Last week, TOR, announced that it has queried and interdicted some of its staff pending the conclusion of investigations into the disappearance of fuel, product storage, and transfer losses at the refinery.
This was part of recommendations by an IMC, 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 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, which belongs to a BDC client.
The issues being investigated include, the wrongful loading of 252,000 litres of Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) instead of regular Kerosene into BRV Trucks at the loading gantry between 21st and 25th September 2021, the disappearance of 18 drums of electrical cables worth and GHS 10.4 million from the Technical Storehouse of TOR discovered in April 2021.
The probe will also go into the disappearance of product (LPG) belonging to a client between 2012 and 2015, as a result of which TOR was indebted to the client to the tune of USD4.8 million, as confirmed by an Ernst and Young audit and the reasons why Funds given by the Ministry of Finance for the payment of TOR’s Debt to a project consulting firm of TOR, did not get paid to them until a garnishee order was placed on the Company’s account in in July 2021.
The issuance of an unauthorized letter admitting debt liability to TOR with attendant computation of interest without the approval of IMC and the loss of Naphtha to a BDC client, are also being investigated.
But a statement issued from the office of the former Ghanaian Ambassador to China, Ambassador Edward Boateng, said he is livid over some reports linking him with the missing 105,927 litres of petrol at TOR.
It confirmed that despite Mr Boateng’s appointment as the new Managing Director of TOR in August 2021, he is yet to officially assume that role.
The former diplomat’s office issued the disclaimer, following some media reports pointing accusing fingers at him with regard to the latest missing fuel scandal at TOR.
He did not mention what is keeping him out of the office and did not also mention when he is likely to be in office, but only insisted that the allegation is misleading, defamatory and an attempt to bring his reputation into disrepute.
Mr Boateng, in the statement sighted by The Herald, threatened to take legal action against media houses making such claims.
“Our attention has been drawn to a publication on ‘Eagle Ghana News’ online portal which seeks to associate the diligent and hard-working Ambassador with the alleged missing 105,927 litres of petrol at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). The headline: ‘105, 927 litres of Petrol Disappears Under Edward Boateng-Led TOR’, is not only misleading and defamatory, but is also an obvious attempt to put his hard-earned reputation into question.”
“The Office of Ambassador Edward Boateng wishes to unequivocally state that even though Ambassador Edward Boateng was announced quite recently as the new Managing Director of TOR, he is yet to receive any official communication appointing him as Managing Director of TOR. Consequently, Ambassador Edward Boateng has neither been at the premises of TOR, nor has he been contacted in any decision-making concerning TOR. TOR still stands under the management of the Interim Management Committee (IMC). The office thereby advises the Editors of Eagle news to pull down the story and offer an unqualified apology to Ambassador Edward Boateng and his Office accordingly, failing which the Ambassador will take all lawful and legal steps to assert his rights,” the statement added.