The state has confiscated 15 truckloads of smuggled petroleum products worth GH¢3.4 million. The total volume of the seized products is 810,000 litres. Additionally, the 15 trucks will be auctioned to the public after the products have been sold to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). According to the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, three truckloads of the products had so far been sold to GOIL. He said the remaining products would be dispatched to GOIL stations to complete the process. In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on Tuesday, Mr. Tampuli said the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was in charge of the disposal of the products and the trucks. Sale Explaining further, Mr Tampuli said the Customs Division, in collaboration with the NPA, had sent confiscation notices to the owners of the trucks and products. He said the management of the affected companies would also be invited before the NPA Board to explain why their company licences should not be revoked. Mr Tampuli said the Customs Division would take the tax component from the sale of the trucks and products, while the NPA would benefit from the margins. The NPA CEO said the public would be notified of the intended auction of the seized trucks. Smuggling The country risks losing a whopping GH¢1.5 billion in taxes and levies in 2017 due to the incidents of smuggling of fuel products. Ghana lost an estimated GH¢800 million in 2016 as a result of the problem, which peaked last year. But for smuggling, Ghana would have gained more than GH¢5 billion in revenue in 2017. The President of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs), Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah, said more than 4,000 jobs would be lost this year if nothing was done about the problem. Culprits who pose as exporters, enjoy low taxes and subsequently divert fuel products they are expected to export to Mali and Burkina Faso back to Ghana and sell them at prices lower than those of the OMCs whose prices contain taxes and levies. Confiscation Officials of the NPA, in collaboration with security personnel, impounded the 15 trucks in September, this year. Each of the trucks was loaded with 54,000 litres of either petrol or diesel. “A joint operation involving the military, the police, personnel from National Security and NPA staff, also arrested some drivers believed to be members of the fuel dumping syndicate in Tema who had in their possession, fake documents and fake Malian number plates,” Mr Tampuli said. The arrest were effected on September 12, 2017 around 5 p.m. According to him, “the NPA received intelligence from the National Security regarding a suspicious export loading activity of petroleum products that had been carried out by some individuals with trucks stationed at a yard in Tema around Kpone, intending to dump the products at local retail outlets.” “The operation team subsequently moved to the vicinity of the reported illegality around 7 p.m. to initially survey the area and plan the arrest of the individuals and Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs) involved. “Following the survey, the team scheduled a raid and arrest of the parties involved in the morning of Tuesday, September 12, 2017,” Mr Tampuli said. He said the modus operandi of the syndicate was to lift products from depots in the country using trucks with Fake Malian numbers; the products were declared for exports into Mali, but were dumped onto the Ghanaian market.
– Source: Graphic Online