A pressure group known as the Centre for National Affairs (CNA) has petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor to initiate criminal investigations into what it claims to be suspected illegal payments at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) to the previous Mahama administration.
CNA, in a letter signed by its Executive Director, Samuel Odame Lartey, said it has ‘gathered’ evidence that a whopping GH¢40.5 million was transferred from BOST to the presidency under John Mahama.
They claimed the recipient’s account was Chief of Staff’s Sundries Account No. 1, with account number 1018631473188 at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), and the alleged illegal transfers were done from August 2015 until early January 2017 when then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) handed over to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) after the December 7, 2016, general election.
The CNA, established in 2007, was part of those that put pressure on former Chairperson for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, to quit her board of GCB in 2012.
Ms. Lamptey was finally ousted for stated misbehavior at CHRAJ.
According to the group, “Letters covering the transfer suggest the transfer of funds is in respect of monies accrued from the security fees taken from Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) invoices to effect payment on the cost of petroleum products supplied by GOIL.”
“The account in question, we at CNA believe, is an unlawful account, as there is no statutory approval with regards to the said account in the public domain,” the group argued, adding “the reasons for payment from BOST to be made into the said account and the nature and manner by which these monies were used are not known to the public.”
They said “we also have reason to believe other state agencies were directed under the previous government to make payments into the said account. The reason for such directives to be made is also unknown to the populace of this nation.”
“We wish to stand on provisions in the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), Section 3(1a and 1b), which empowers your office to investigate and prosecute alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and any other relevant law involving public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector to call on your office to initiate an investigation into the said account.”
The group said, “as concerned and involved citizens, call on your office to help protect the public purse by demystifying the mysteries surrounding the said account and bring light to any unlawful dealings that may have gone on.”
It attached letters issued to effect the said payments from the bank to the account in question and summary of all the transactions for the attention of the Special Prosecutor.
In the heat of the transition after President Mahama and his NDC had handed over, the NPP in Parliament hinted that BOST, headed by Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko, allegedly led a corrupt administration, siphoning money to Flagstaff House.
At a press conference, the NPP said that there were massive rotten deals under former BOST MD, Kwame Awuah-Darko, with the Office of the then President, John Mahama and his Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah siphoning between GH¢2.5 million and GH¢3.5 million at the end of every two weeks from 2015 amounting to about GH¢40.5 million under the guise of security transfers.
Since the change of government, Awuah-Darko has allegedly relocated to the United States where he is said to be operating money transfer.
CNA was founded in 2007 to undertake policy research to consequently contribute to institutional reforms that affect both rural and urban communities in Ghana.
Additionally, CNA aims to respond rapidly to changes in governance-related issues, human rights and access to justice, environment, and economic issues through advocacy.
The Center also recommended a private prosecutor for the Alfred Agbesi Woyome case in the 2012 judgment debt saga.
Although the recommendation was not taken, the CNA said it felt vindicated following the establishment of the Special Prosecutor to depoliticise the fight against corruption.