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General News of Friday, 3 November 2000

Source: GNA

Fuel stations placed under 24-hour security

All fuel stations in the Ketu District of the Volta Region, which shares border with Togo, have been placed under a 24-hour security surveillance as smuggling of petroleum products to the Republic of Togo has intensified.

Security has also been beefed up at Akporkploe, Avakorme, Avoeme, Wudoaba and 'Beat Nine Route' as well as the coastal towns identified as notorious fuel delivery points used by smugglers along the Ghana-Togo border.

These were part of measures adopted by the Ketu District Security Committee (DISEC) to curtail the ever-increasing fuel smuggling situation following the failure of fuel station managers to heed recent directives by the DISEC on the movement and sale of petroleum products in the district.

The DISEC has also directed that the sale of fuel to Taxis and local mini buses be recorded to show time and date of purchase, amount and quantity purchased and registration numbers of the vehicles for regular cross-checking by the DISEC to ensure compliance.

An 18-member Security Task Force drawn from the Ghana Army, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Police, Fire Service, Immigration, Customs and Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) has been deployed to ensure orderliness in the fuel situation on a daily basis.

Mr Henry Ametefee, District Chief Executive, who made this known at the DISEC meeting at Denu on the smuggling situation, said the problem needs extra vigilance and intelligence to curtail.

He therefore directed the Task Force to examine the various scenarios for a workable scheme "to deal with these nation wreckers in the society". Mr Ametefee warned that any member of the task force found going contrary to the aims of DISEC would be punished severely.

He said security personnel are also to be stationed at approved border crossing points, mainly Aflao, to check fuel levels of all heavy duty vehicles conveying cement from Aflao to Togo because such vehicles have been identified to regularly leave for Togo with their thanks full of fuel but return with almost empty tanks.

Investigations conducted by the Ghana News Agency revealed that fuel station managers and their attendants at Aflao take commissions of between 5,000 cedis and 10,000 cedis from drivers before serving them with fuel.

Many people arrested for alleged fuel smuggling are to be put before court soon. Agbozume, Aflao, Denu and Dzodze have been identified as the major towns harbouring the smugglers and where their activities are planned and launched.