The management of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has asked the general public to ignore a report in some media outlets suggesting that the company has caused some GHS1.5billion loss to the state.
The company said a publication which appeared on page 16 of the Wednesday 13th December, 2017 edition of the Ghanaian Times under the headline; ‘Lack of monthly bank reconciliation cost TOR GHS1.5bn in 2015’ is unfounded.
A statement issued by the Public Affairs Manager for Tema Oil Refinery, Dr Kingsley Antwi-Boasiako, revealed that the 2016 Auditor General’s Report which happens to be the source of the story in the Ghanaian Times which was also published on Ghanaweb and Peacefmonline, wrongfully refers to an ‘Accountant of TOR’ instead of an ‘Accountant of the Tema Oil Refinery based Customs Outfit/Division’ which happened to be the subject of an Auditor General investigation into the collection of taxes by the Customs Division located on TOR premises.
The opening passage to the story reported that:“The failure of an accountant of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to prepare monthly bank reconciliation statements has resulted in the loss of GHS1,561,434,333.31 to the state, the Auditor General’s Report has established. The amount which covered the period between January and September 2015 was said to have been debited to the petroleum revenue account without the knowledge of TOR management.. ” the story continued.
In what could be described as a quick confutation, the Public Afffairs Manager for Tema Oil Refinery, Dr Kingsley Antwi-Boasiako stated that; “The Auditor General’s investigation is about the activities of the Customs Outfit which happens to be located on the premises of TOR which is only serving as collection point of Petroleum revenues from the BDCs and the OMCs by that outfit of Customs.
"The journalist refused to abide by one of the principal canons in journalism; crosschecking information for the sake of accuracy. If the journalist had contacted TOR, he would have known that the two entities are completely independent of each other. Plus, TOR is a State Owned Limited liability company which has KPMG, a private auditing firm as its auditors and not the Auditor General as wrongly purported in the story. The Auditor General has never audited our accounts, we have no business with the Petroleum Revenue and we have no such account at the Bank of Ghana.”
The Public Affairs Manager explained that the statements made about TOR in the story, and attributed to the 2016 Auditor General’s Report prompted his office to seek clarification from the Auditor General’s Department. He revealed that in an interaction with the Deputy Auditor-General at the Central Government Audit Department, Mr George S. Winful, he admitted that an error had been made in the 2016 Audit report by referring to an ‘Accountant of TOR’ instead of an ‘Accountant at the Tema Oil Refinery Custom Outfit.’
He referred to the heading on Page 34, paragraph number 96 of the 2016 Auditor General’s Report which reads: “GHANA REVENUE AUTHORITY-CUSTOMS DIVISION-TEMA OIL REFINERY COLLECTION-Unsubstantiated debits to the petroleum account GHS1,561,434,333.31’ and said this should have served as enough clue for the reporter to have known that the accountant in reference here is not that of TOR but of the Customs Outfit located on the premises of TOR.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako urged journalists to substantiate the veracity of information they come across, especially if it has to do with the reputation of organisations since such stories could negatively affect investment and other opportunities that companies seek.
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