Thirteen Bulk Road Vehicles (BVRs), which were illegally used to transport petroleum products, have so far been intercepted by the Ashanti Regional Police Command in collaboration with the National Petroleum (NPA), between March and October this year.
It formed part of exercise by the NPA to clamp down on illegal transportation and trade in petroleum products.
The Ashanti Regional Manager of the NPA, Betty Nana Adwoa Ofori, who disclosed this to the Ghanaian Times, yesterday, during a media engagement, said that the Authority sought support to fight illegal operators in the downstream petroleum sector, resulting in the interception.
She said the vehicles which were mostly intercepted at Manso, within the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region, had been taken to Accra, pending prosecution.
According to Ms Ofori, the diversion and smuggling of petroleum products mostly by BRVs were highly prevalent at Manso.
She said the illegal transportation of petroleum products was one of the causes of the upsurge in galamsey in the country.
Ms Ofori explained that people involved in illegal mining did not have the necessary mining documents, and so were unable to request for bulk purchase of fuel from NPA, and therefore, result resorted to smuggled and diverted fuels.
The Ashanti Regional Manager of NPA said that 80 ‘third party retailers,’ popularly called “table-top sellers” of fuel had also been identified and that NPA would collaborate with the police and arrest them to face the law.
Ms Ofori identified common violations by the public at the fuel stations, including failure to switch off vehicle engines and mobile phones before re-fueling and shaking of vehicles to accommodate more fuel, and pleaded with the public to desist from such practices.
The Legal Manager at the Legal Directorate of NPA, Farida Ali-Musah, announced that the Authority would from the first quarter of next year, commence prosecution of people arrested for engaging in the illegal transport and trade in fuel.
“The NPA has been given prosecutorial powers by the Attorney General to prosecute crimes in the oil supply chain in the country. The Executive Instrument (EI) 378, which the Authority obtained in 2020, will enable the NPA to ensure successful prosecution of cases in the petroleum downstream industry and stem the tide of crime in the sector,” she said.