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General News of Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

EOCO battles ex-BOST boss

A former Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) Limited under the previous Mahama administration, Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko is missing, according to the Economic and Organised Crime Organization (EOCO).

After publications that the anti-graft body was pursuing him, Mr. Awuah-Darko came out to say that he had always been available, but EOCO is insisting that he cannot be traced in respect of his alleged role in the ‘rot’ at BOST.

New Twist

A source at EOCO told DAILY GUIDE exclusively that the authorities cannot trace his whereabouts and tell the nature of his purported ailment.

“We wrote to Mr. Awuah-Darko to come and assist in investigations into his leadership at BOST but there was no response,” a top source at EOCO said, adding “he is not in the country.”

He said a letter dated 27th June was written to inform EOCO that he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment at an unnamed location outside the jurisdiction.

“We do not know where he is and cannot tell the nature of his ailment and besides there is no medical proof of his sickness,” the source added.

“We want him to assist in investigations not proxy responses. We are a friendly organization and our doors are always open. Let him fly down from wherever he is so he can assist in investigations.”

Continuing, the source added that “EOCO is a friendly organization and all we want is for him to come and assist in the ongoing investigations”.

BOST Saga

It is turning out the GH¢40.5 million allegedly transferred from the BOST to the Mahama administration constitutes just a fraction of the mess that characterized Mr. Awuah-Darko’s leadership at the state oil facility.

The real amount of money allegedly misappropriated is believed to be in excess of hundreds of millions of cedis, according to a forensic audit report on some state-owned companies.

Some top officials of BOST have also been cited in the report for misappropriating public funds and have been asked to account for them.

Mr. Awuah-Darko, according to the forensic audit, allegedly misappropriated GH¢109,498,565 and $33,305,527, and funds transferred to the Chief of Staff alone was GH¢83,567,206 aside from the GH¢40.5 million earlier reported.

The report said the former Board Chairman of BOST Kakra Essamuah should also account for GH¢1,941,527.00 and $3,741,527.00.

According to the report, George Aborah, former General Manager, Finance at BOST, allegedly misappropriated GH¢86,418,225.00 and $8,088,986 and should ‘account’ for the money.

The report also cited Mr. Aborah for allegedly transferring GH¢40,500,000 to the Chief of Staff.

He was also cited for procurement irregularities amounting to GH¢14, 272, 126.

Mr Aborah is also to account for GH¢2,539,624.55 as “excess cash management and transfer fees charged by First Atlantic Bank.”

The report further said GKA Consultancy Services, owned by Mr. Aborah, had misappropriated GH¢2,800,000 and $647,000 and therefore should account for that amount.

Project Manager of BOST, Ato Wilson was cited for procurement irregularities amounting to GH¢14,272, 126 and should account for $9,572.34.

Awuah-Darko Rejoinder

Last week when EOCO caused publications to be issued to the effect that it could not trace Mr. Awuah-Darko, he released a rejoinder, saying “EOCO is not and cannot be chasing me since they know of my whereabouts, so the story that EOCO is chasing me is palpably false…”

He also denied claims that he supervised the illegal transfer of huge amounts of money into an account held by the Chief of Staff (CoS) under the Mahama presidency.

Narrating how EOCO got in touch with him, Mr. Awuah-Darko said “on receipt of their letter I called the office and spoke to the DG’s assistant. I followed our conversation up with a letter which I copied my lawyers on. In my response to EOCO, I gave them my telephone number and my email on which I could be reached on. EOCO has not responded to my letter either by email or by phone to date.”

He said “they dropped a letter off in my house somewhere towards the end of March and early May, which was sent to me by my office in Accra. This account is not a fake account, neither is the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic of Ghana a fake position.”

Forensic Audit

The government sanctioned forensic audit was conducted by reputable international auditing firms into the affairs of those agencies and others where massive looting of state resources through procurements and deliberate stealing of money running into several billion Ghana cedis were detected.

According to the auditors, there were massive breaches of the Public Procurement Law (Act 663, 2003) and the Public Procurement (Amendment) Law (Act 914, 2016) and mentioned some of them as “inflation of contracts sums and non-performance of contracts. Others include non-enforcement and breach of contracts.”

The auditors also discovered “breach of the provision of the Financial Administration Regulation, 2004 (L.I. 1802), such as cash disbursement without authorization, deposit of public funds into personal accounts and failing to account for accountable travelling allowances.”

Sources said the revelations are just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption that characterized the previous Mahama administration.

Amidu Alert

The names of the gurus at BOST, alongside former heads of six state-owned agencies which appeared in the special forensic audit report, have since been submitted to the office of the Special Prosecutor, headed by former Attorney General Martin A.B.K. Amidu and the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).

Apart from the BOST where the forensic audit was carried out, the other companies equally cited for alleged wrongdoing are Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC).