Tema refinery workers call for removal of entire management

Dr. Kwame Ampofo

Workers of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) have called for the immediate removal of Dr Kwame Ampofo, the acting Managing Director, the management and entire board of directors of the company on grounds of incompetence.

The demand followed an emergency meeting of the leadership of the workers union in Tema on Thursday, during which they launched a programme dubbed, “Operation save Tema Oil Refinery”.

Sources close to the union told the Daily Graphic that the MD and management of TOR had failed to clear spare parts imported by the company from Europe for repair works on its plants, leading to the subsequent auction of the parts by the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS).

The spare parts, according to the sources, were imported at a cost of several millions of dollars for refurbishment works at the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) and the Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracker (RFCC).

The workers questioned why the spare parts, which were imported into the country in April, 2009, were not cleared and kept in a customs bonded warehouse owned by TOR.

The sources said the inability of management to procure crude oil for production had led to the shutdown of the CDU and the RFCC for the past one week.

They further alleged that crude oil obtained by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) through a government-to-government arrangement from neighbouring Nigeria, was being diverted by the company to individuals in government.

When contacted on telephone, Dr Ampofo admitted that the refinery was going through some financial difficulties, which had led to the refusal of financial institutions to grant letters of credit for the procurement of crude oil.

“If we go ahead to clear the parts with the little resources at our disposal, it would mean workers will be denied their monthly salary; that is why government has contracted a transaction advisor to restructure TOR’s finances as this shows the company is bankrupt,” he said.

On the shutdown of the two plants, Dr Ampofo denied that it was the result of non-availability of crude oil.

According to him, the refinery was in the middle of refining parcels of crude oil brought in. by the GNPC when the “work guard compressor which is attached to the RPDC plant broke down”.

The Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC, Nana Asafu-Adjaye for his part, denied that the company was diverting crude oil meant for refining to top government officials.

He attributed the hoarding of the crude to the recent fire outbreak that occurred at the loading gantry at TOR, which bad affected delivery as trucks could not load the products.

“I can assure you that no member of the board or for that matter Mr Ato Ahwoi, the board chair, has diverted any petroleum product meant for the general public’s consumption as is being alleged by the workers,” he stated.

Source: Daily Graphic

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