Member of Parliament for Bongo constituency, Edward Bawa, has called for sanctions against the Managing Director of Bulk Oil Storage Transportation (BOST) Company, George Mensah Okley and his deputy, John Kojo Ankoful, over what he describes as the unlawful payment of some $3 million to Springfield Energy.The MP in a statement said the two officers ordered the payment against the legal advice from. BOSTs external lawyers.
George Mensah Okley is said to have been misguided by the Director of Finance, Mr. John Kojo Arkoful in paying the said amount in July and August, 2018.
Springfield Energy brought its product to BOST’s tank farm in 2013 October for storage. Part of the product could not be accounted for. Springfield Energy took advantage of this loss and made a claim $20,226,717.75 which was far more than the actual quantity lost. This was at a time when Mr. John Kojo Akoful, now the head of Finance, was the acting M.D. of BOST. On the 18th November 2015, Springfield Energy filed a writ against BOST at an Accra High Court, claiming the following:
- Recovery of $ 20, 226,717.75 for their lost products
- At the Interest rate of 19% from October 2015 till the final payment of the principal;
- Loss of profit of $3,420,000.00
When Mr. Awuah Darko assumed office as the M.D. of BOST, he studied the documents on this case and challenged all the claims of Springfield. He subsequently engaged Ernst and Young Audit Firm to audit the transaction to ascertain the actual quantity of products lost. Ernst and Young found out that the actual quantity of product lost was worth $ 11, 104, 143.2.Both BOST and Springfield agreed and accepted this finding.
A summary judgement was later awarded to Springfield for its claim by the Accra high Court. At this point Mr. Awuah Darko engaged external lawyers to fight the case. BOST filed a stay of execution at the court to enable them appeal against the judgement. The High Court granted it partially and ordered the payment of the cost of actual product lost as ascertained by the auditors and agreed by both parties. This was $11,104,143.29.
On the 20th of December 2016, BOST under Awuah Darko paid the said principal amount of $11,104,143.29 through a Five Year Term loan from Fidelity Bank. The remaining unresolved issue of the 19% interest rate being claimed by Springfield on the principal is still pending at the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Springfield in September 2017, under Mr. Alfred Obeng’s tenure as M.D, approached BOST to have the matter settled out of court. The Head of Finance Mr. John Kojo Ankoful (under whose tenure as acting MD when this product loss was occasioned), and the Head of Legal Department, Mrs Harriet Amoah negotiated the settlement agreement of $9 million with Springfield.
This was supposed to be the interest on the principal ($11,104,143.29). Alfred Obeng ordered the payment of $4million as part of the $9 million interest payment before the settlement agreement was even signed.This was on the 27th September 2017 without the presence or advice of the external lawyers who were handling the case in court.
The Head of Legal Department, Mrs Harriet Amoah then sent the Settlement agreement to the External Lawyers for their perusal and in a response via email the external lawyers clearly advised against further payment to Springfield because Springfield in the opinion of the lawyers, was not entitled to an amount of$9 million as interest payment.
As a result of this advice, the settlement agreement was not executed. BOST made it clear to Springfield that they cannot claim interest on their products and at the same time loss of profit on the same product.
Against the legal advice of BOST’s external lawyers, George Mensah Okley, the M.D. and John Kojo Akoful, the head of Finance are said to have ordered the payment of an additional $3 million as interest payment.
While calling for a full audit of the systems at BOST, Mr. Bawa recommended a full scale investigation into circumstances leading to the payment.
He said the two officers who allowed the payment against legal counsel must be made to step aside.
By: Marian Ansah/citinewsroom.com/Ghana
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