Saturday, 25 November 2017

Lawless fuel dealers to face 5-year jail term


Adnan Adams Mohammed 
Oil dealers who fail to comply with guidelines and regulations set out by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) will now be arraigned before court and if found guilty, slapped with a 15,000 penalty unit fine or serve a five-year jail term.
Image result for illegal fuel trade
Offenders could also be slapped with both and have their licenses withdrawn.

“ The National Petroleum Authority is drafting regulations to cover oil and petroleum products supply and quality control which will be enforced when accented into law. Any petroleum service provider that is not compliant will upon summary conviction, be fined a penalty of up to 15,000 units or imprisoned up to five years or both and may have their licenses also withdrawn”, Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko revealed.

The Energy Minister made this known when he appeared on the floor of Parliament, Thursday, to answer some questions relating to his ministry.

His comment was spurred by a question from the former Power Minister and NDC MP for Pru, Dr. Kwabena Donkor who had sought to inquire from the Energy Minister what measures the Ministry instituted to ensure that laws, regulations, and guidelines on specification for petroleum products are complied with, having regards to the statement by BOST that they have supplied or sold out some contaminated petroleum unto the local market.

The regulation, he added, is to ensure the safety of petroleum products in the country.

Also, Mr Agyarko has told Parliament that no individual is now allowed to lift contaminated oil from Ghana’s Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST).

This, he said, is part of interim measures to prevent the supply of contaminated fuel onto the market following the BOST scandal where some 5 million liters of substandard fuel was reportedly brought onto the market by Movenpinna Energy and Zup Oil.

Responding to questions on the floor of Parliament, Boakye Agyarko said the Ministerial Committee charged with investigating the scandal had not completed its work, but their report would be submitted to the Mines and Energy Committee of the House when ready, after which a white paper will be issued on it.

“One of the interim measures is that no longer will individuals be allowed to lift contaminated products out of BOST,” he said.

Boakye Agyarko explained that they have taken this decision because it usually becomes difficult to track the whereabouts of products lifted from BOST.

“We also noted that as soon as products were lifted out of BOST, you lost control of its track. As an interim measure, it is only BOST with its BVRs that can lift products to designated end-use consumers under the care and control of BOST. No longer are private companies allowed to lift products to unknown destinations. This became obvious during the preliminary investigation conducted by FDA itself whose preliminary results were released to the public. So we are taking the obvious which can remediate some of these deficiencies and shortfalls,” he added.

BOST took centre stage in the media in July 2017, after it emerged that it had sold 5 million litres of contaminated fuel to two unlicensed companies, Movepiina and Zup Oil, which were allegedly set up a few days before the sale, causing Ghana to lose about GHc 7 million in revenue.

The Energy Ministry subsequently cleared BOST of any wrongdoing but the minority said they suspect it was an attempt to cover up the alleged rot.