BOST director under fire: Staff demand inquiry into mismanagement
Workers of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST) are calling on President John Mahama to urgently set up an independent inquiry to investigate their Managing Director and his management of the strategic national asset.
The angry workers who were interviewed insist Kwame Awuah Darko should be made to stand aside and a meticulous audit conducted into his activities at BOST.
They allege that a lot of his decisions and actions are costing the company financially and claim that there have been various instances of mismanagement and corruption.They believe the President must act immediately to forestall the collapse of the company.
“Management should brace themselves for legal battles and huge compensations,” some angry workers exclaimed.
BOST pays TSL a total of $56,170.21 every month for twelve months as management fees while at the same time paying $594,000 every month to cater for reimbursables. The amounts include money for maintenance, training, standard operating procedures as well as salaries. The staff however say TSL is not doing any of these and does not have the capacity to do so. “They turn around to use BOST staff to do the same job and then accuse BOST of lacking capacity,” they told rawgist.com.
They say these monies could have been saved and should be sitting in BOST’s accounts. Workers allege that these hefty payments are being made without invoices nor any form of acceptable documentation. The payments continue to go through with the express support of the MD.
TSL continues to bill BOST for training fees for no training at all while BOST pays separately for their own training.
“BOST paid for a number of pick-up trucks for TSL. TSL has given back four of the trucks to the MD to aid his parliamentary campaign,” one of the workers alleged.
The TSL deal was to cut product losses but what the workers have discovered is that, the losses they seek to prevent are far less than the cost of solving the problem as far as their partnership with TSL is concerned. “The kind of job they are doing and the amount we are paying them is unreasonable, the MD is taking kick-backs,” they added.
The workers believe the nation has been deceived about the deal being carried on a pilot basis. They told rawgist.com there is no piloting going on and that what is going on is the “real deal”.
Relocation of office and office furniture:
Under the current MD of BOST, the company has relocated from their Airport residential area office, which according to sources cost about $13,000 a month, to a smaller office around Dzorwulu which costs $43,000 a month.
“Our former office was significantly bigger than our new place. We just don’t understand what’s going on,” some workers lamented.
They also expressed anger at the fact that the MD has ordered new customized furniture for his office from the US while other staff as well as managers got office furniture they likened to “kindergarten tables and chairs”. Again, they alleged that the cost of the furniture is inflated.
The staff members also accuse their managing director of failing to account for a whopping $15 million from BOST’s partnership with the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC).
“He is the one accusing the previous management of incurring losses amounting to approximately $6 million. Look at the losses he has incurred in less than two years in office,” a source queried.
Restructuring and staff motivation
Staff allege that Mr Darko has made attempts to restructure the company, bringing in people from his former workplace, Money Systems. These former employees purpotedly owe allegiance to him and are mostly unqualified for the jobs they are doing.
“The fascinating thing is that the MD is elevating them above existing managers at an alarming rate”.
The MD of BOST is accused of witch-hunting members of staff he thinks are not in support of his leadership style. He is alleged to have suspended the company’s health and safety manager on “frivolous” grounds for well over five months without any committee to look into the “trumped up” charges against him. While the manager is on suspension, the MD is reported to tried to find a replacement for him.
“He also suspended a lady in charge of Human Resources after accusing her of aiding the Senior Staff Association to unionize without his authorization”, a staff member revealed, adding that “he also sacked another lady who was on sick leave. It took the woman going to court to force the MD to quickly pay her benefits”.
Last year, he allegedly paid “13th month salary” to some staff and refused to pay those he suspects were not in favour of his management style. When they protested, he paid half the amount to them and left the rest pending.
Before coming to BOST, the MD is alleged to have incurred debts to the tune of $6m with a certain bank. Staff of BOST are convinced the MD is using BOST to repay his debts. They feel his continued stay as MD is a great risk, considering his indebtedness.
The workers say they expect the President to take action and urgently begin an inquiry.
“The MD should be made to step aside immediately so as not to compromise any investigations. If he is found not guilty, he should be reinstated but if he is found culpable, he should be dealt with as the law demands,” the staff demanded.
The workers says “the Senior Staff Union petition to the board is just a tip of the iceberg compared to what is to come if nothing is done about the status quo at BOST.”
BOST Communications Manager Salifu Nat Acheampong has refused to comment on the issue