Crime & Punishment of Friday, 23 May 2014

Source: GNA

Fuel stations in Ketu-South aiding smuggling

A source at National Security has alleged that fuel stations in the Ketu South Municipality are involved in the massive smuggling of petroleum products from the area to Togo.

The products are mainly petrol, diesel and kerosene, which in particular is always in short supply in the area.

It is believed, kerosene is sold almost exclusively to smugglers during pre-arranged periods, and forcing local users to buy either direct from Togo or from retailers whose source of supply is Togo.

The source told the GNA at Aflao that there were 30 fuel stations in the area and dozens more due to open soon.

The source also said it appeared fuel marketing entities and individuals were rushing to take advantage of the environment, with no one minding the national interest.

Smugglers normally ferried the fuels in gallons concealed in travelling bags by motor-bikes.

According to the source, the porous state of the Ghana-Togo frontier and its numerous unapproved routes were baits.

The Ketu South Municipal Security Committee (MUSEC) is said to have held meetings over the issue and will meet fuel station owners and managers soon.

The source stated that each fuel station was thought to be selling as high as 3,000 liters of fuel a day and 1,200 liters of fuel being smuggled in gallons from Aflao to Lome was recently intercepted and two motor-bikes transporting them on expanded carriers impounded.

The source said the rumour was that “hard working smugglers and agents who lure more smugglers for business are rewarded by the stations”.

He said MUSEC had sent a message to the Volta Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to assist to stop the practice.

MUSEC had also asked the National Petroleum Authority to devise a special monitoring strategy to stop the smuggling.

There are also indications that cocoa smugglers were avoiding the old routes and rather using unapproved routes southwards.

Four bags of cocoa recently fell off a truck, while fleeing into Togo, pursued by security.