Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOR officials cleared of crude oil theft


Investigations by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) have cleared top officials of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) of allegations of stealing and re-selling crude oil, bought by Ghana from Nigeria on the international market.

The BNI report is expected to be forwarded to the Castle in the coming days.

There have been media reports over the last one week of crude oil theft at TOR to the tune of over $48million.

A Swiss company, Petrol Plus, which has dealings with TOR, has been linked to the alleged crude oil theft resulting in the loss of millions of dollars to the state.

But the Chief Executive Officer of TOR, Ato Ampiah told Citi News reporter Richard Sky that the reports are false.

"Let me assure Ghanaians that their assets are in very capable and reliable hands and there is no way the Chief Executive of TOR will allow such an important asset to go to the drain. We are going to stand firm against those who for no reason and for no actual commercial purpose want to make a claim against TOR for what they have not done. We are to save and to fight for TOR to ensure that Ghanaians will get their assets restored with a turnaround and that is what we are doing. Nobody should try to divert our attention and take us off course".

“This is an issue of fraudulent people who want to make sure they create problems in Ghana. There is no basis for it and there is no truth in it. The National Security has investigated this; the BNI and the Castle security have all investigated and have found nothing wrong with TOR" he declared.

Mr. Ato Ampiah said those concocting the false stories are rather behind attempts to introduce a form of fraud onto the crude market in Ghana.

“This is a fraud being imported into Ghana, and I believe that the State security should take it seriously and the press should also take is seriously to learn about the oil industry to ensure that Ghanaians are safe. It is being done by people who don’t own property or crude, but will come and tell you that a ship standing somewhere pumping oil belongs to them.

“You don’t trade in crude like that. Crude is not like kenkey. You trade in crude in TOR with letters of credit which have to be confirmed by first class European banks. They don’t even know the name of the bank. The Bank is BNP Paribas. The LC was done through GT Bank, and everything was done through the right way” he noted.

Mr. Ampiah said the false stories have dented TOR’s image and efforts will be made to clear the name of the State refinery, even if it has to go to Court.

“This is a very serious matter. The image of TOR has been dented as we strive to build a lot of confidence with local and international banks and I don’t know how this has been affected. I think that we would have to sit down and strategize how to redeem this image” said he.

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