Presidency must probe fuel smuggling claims – OccupyGhana

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, is calling on the presidency to, as a matter of national importance, launch a full scale investigation into alleged fuel smuggling syndicate operating in the oil sector.

The group believes that until government takes drastic steps by prosecuting perpetrators of the act, the cartel would continue to operate in the sector, to the detriment of the national economy.

According to a report published by the Chamber of Bulk Distribution (CBOD), an umbrella body of the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies in Ghana, there is some systematic cases of smuggling of fuel in the country.

The report which was launched by the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko on Friday, indicted officials of the National Security, the Ghana Revenue Authority and political appointees at the office of the president.

On that score, OccupyGhana in a strongly worded letter to the Chief of Staff said “We note with concern the alleged revenue losses amounting to GHS 1.4 billion in the loss of over 800-thousand metric tonnes of subsidized fuel.

“If true, this is completely unacceptable. Also worrying is the allegation that about GHS 5.2 million was lost to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) from diversions of 230 illegitimately subsidized premix trucks.”

The group added, “increased smuggling activities along our coasts, under-invoicing, illegal tax and regulatory margins, ESLA under-reporting, Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) transfer pricing, deliberate inefficiencies and illegalities at BOST, unlawful profiteering, tax evasion and export dumping.”

The group says it is particularly troubled by “the claim that these are happening with the connivance and complicity of officials in the office of the President, in National Security, and in GRA.”

It says, “In the interest of the principles of probity, accountability and transparency, we write to request that full-scale criminal and highly forensic investigations are conducted into the alleged findings in the CBOD Report.

“If any persons are found to have engaged in these acts we would urge the prosecution of all criminally culpable elements within the petroleum value chain to the full extent permissible by law, no matter who these culpable elements may be.”

The Chamber had also called for investigations into the matter.

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