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General News of Sunday, 21 July 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Digitization of premix fuel distribution won’t tackle corruption – Nii Lante Vanderpuye

The Member of Parliament for the Odododiodoo constituency, Nii Lante Vanderpuye has said digitization of premix fuel distribution will not address issues of corruption associated with it.

He argued that individuals who input digital figures in the process of the distribution could still perpetrate corruption.

In an interview with Citi News, Mr. Vanderpuye noted that fisher folks are only interested in making bumper catch of fishes and not the digitization of premix fuel.

“The real issue of the premix is the smuggling of the premix by his [Dr. Bawumia’s] own party people… It is the corruption involved in the premix fuel. The diversions. You and I were in this country when we heard that GHC 21 million cedis worth of premix had been diverted. Look at the real issues and stop bothering us with the issue of digitization. It will not solve anything.”

“If you do digitization, it is still the human beings who are going to input figures and if the person is corrupt, the person is corrupt,. The person will input 1,000 gallons when the person has distributed only 200 gallons. What is the back up to check all these things. Corruption in premix fuel? That one too we need digitization? Most of the fishermen involved are not the sort of people who will appreciate these things. All that they need is that the premix is made available for them to go to sea and come back with cash and be able to take care of their families.”

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia earlier announced that government has begun processes to digitize the distribution of both premix fuel and fertilizer to address the confusion that characterizes the distribution process.

Both fishermen and farmers have complained of being cheated during the distribution of the two products.

Speaking at the 2019 Ghana Petroleum Conference, Dr. Bawumia said the trend will end soon.

“We will implement the digitization process in the distribution of premix in Ghana and we hope to extend it to fertilizer next year as well,” said the Vice President.

Citi News gathered that in January 2017 premix fuel consignments loaded from the Tema Oil Refinery, were not delivered to the intended destinations indicated on the invoices and Returns of the Oil Marketing Companies, OMCs.

A document sighted by the Citi News from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) indicated that, there were 12 major diversions of pre-mix fuel in January alone.

In all instances, although the product was documented to be bound for the Volta Region, they ended up in Accra, according to information obtained by the NPA’s BRV Tracking System and Returns.

Although the NPA identified the challenge, very little seem to have been done to salvage the situation.

No wrongdoing in 2017 premix diversions – Deputy Fisheries Minister

The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Francis K. Ato Cudjoe, subsequently dismissed calls for the prosecution of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) that were cited in the alleged Premix Fuel diversions across the country in 2017.

The Deputy Minister said although the Fisheries Ministry initially blacklisted all the trucks cited, investigations, later investigations have proved that most of them were only re-routing, something mistaken by the media for diversions.

Speaking to Citi News at Ekumfi Essakyir in the Central Region, he said, “The so-called diversions, the majority of them were not diversions. On the system, they had been keyed (for example) to go to Apam, but instead of going to Apam, they dropped the fuel at Winneba, which was done in conjunction with either the Ministry or the Landing Beach Committees”.