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TOR Board of Directors accused of mismanagement by union

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The General Transport and Petroleum Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) has accused the Board of Directors of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) of mismanagement.

The union lamented that activities at the refinery were now in limbo due to the inadequacies of the board.

The board has, however, denied the accusations and described the claims as “false, unfounded and derogatory”, and an attack on the rights and safety of its members.

The Chairman of the union, Bernard Owusu, was addressing the press in Accra yesterday.

Allegations

Mr Owusu said after 22 months in office and over 40 meetings held at a cost to the refinery, the board was yet to get a credible partner for TOR due to the failure to open up to all interested potential partners.

He said the board had argued that there was no money to facilitate a due diligence report (DDR) on all the potential partners.

The chairman, however, alleged that the board forced the management to pay GH¢1.3 million for the first DDR on Torrenco Asset Management Limited (TAML), and was currently paying another GH¢300,000 for another DDR on Tema Energy and Processing Ltd (TEPL).

“How on earth do you select a firm and start discussing a lease transaction with the same before conducting a DDR on the firm.

What was the basis for the selection,” Mr Owusu quizzed. 

Given the same set of data, he said, the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice and some civil society organisations drew the same conclusions regarding the lack of technical and financial capacity and credibilities of TEPL in few weeks.

However, the union chairman said for close to two years, the board was still struggling to identify the fraudulent nature of the people behind the TEPL.

Mr Owusu further claimed that the Board of Directors had not been able to mention a single credible or established firm in the energy sector or the financial sector that would be supporting the financial numbers the TEPL was promising.

As the 100 per cent shareholder, the chairman said the government must have enough confidence in the viability of TOR and be prepared to agree on a sovereign guarantee that backed any investor.

He, therefore, questioned why all three prospective partners were missed merely based on their request for a sovereign security for their investment.

Claims

The chairman also expressed surprise that the board issued a press release which mentioned TEPL’s incorporation of a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) by name, Tema Energy and Processing Limited.

Mr Owusu alleged that TEPL was conniving with the board to find its way into TOR for ulterior motives.

According to him, as long as TEPL held shares in the new SPV and the core directors remained the same, no new due diligence report would suffice.

Reaction

Attempts to reach the board of directors has not been successful.

However, in a statement it released in October last year, it denied claims of mismanagement.

The board emphasised that its members were highly qualified and respected individuals dedicated to guiding and overseeing the company’s strategy, performance and governance.

It also stressed that it had always acted with integrity, professionalism and in the best interests of the company, shareholders and stakeholders.

The board also deemed the union’s description of them as “incompetent” to be an affront to its dignity and announced that they had initiated investigations to clarify circumstances behind such media reports.

SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE