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Editorial: Should Mills Trust NPA & BNI?
 
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17-Mar-2010  
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When this information got to us at The Chronicle, we made a follow up at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) in Accra to enquire whether they had got hint of the development, and they responded in affirmative.

The regulating body, through its Public Relations Officer, Yaro Kasambata, told The Chronicle that inspectors from the NPA were on their way to Takoradi to take samples of the product for examination.

When our reporters got back to the same Yaro Kasambata the following (Saturday), he claimed that when the NPA inspectors got to the Nasona filling station, they had already run out of fuel stock, but the inspectors managed to scoop some of the remnants in the underground tank for examination.

Strictly speaking, no concrete evidence has emerged from both the BNI and the NPA that the Nasona filling station was selling premix fuel as premium/petrol to the public.

We cannot, therefore, make any logical conclusion that the station was selling premix. The Chronicle is, however, disappointed with the roles played by the two state agencies in this particular case.

The BNI is a well-respected state investigative agency that has helped to uncover so many underhand dealings in this country. Though some people had previously perceived the BNI as a 'Star Chamber' and do not want to get close to the security agency, fortunately, the perception is gradually being eroded, especially with the entrenchment of democratic practices in the country.

The Chronicle is, therefore, surprised that such a state investigative agency would conduct a swoop on a filling station, suspected to be selling premix as premium/petrol, without effectively securing the place for further investigations.

It is our contention that if the BNI had secured the place, the issue about the filling station 'running out of stock' just when the investigators had arrived to take samples of the fuel in question, would not have arisen.

Unless the state security agency can convince Ghanaians that there was no need to secure the place, it would be very difficult for the ordinary person on the street to understand their action. We are, therefore, calling on the government to conduct an investigation to unravel the rationale behind the BNI's failure to put security men on the ground, to make sure that the disputed fuel in the tank was well secured.

The Chronicle further contends that the NPA must be held liable for allowing the fuel station to run out of stock at the time they did.

We believe that if the NPA was seriously concerned about the irregularities going on in the industry, the first action it should have taken, when they got the information of the filling station selling premix as petrol, was to inform the police to move in and guard the place, before their (NPA) inspectors finally arrive to conduct their investigations, but this never happened, for reasons that are very difficult to understand.

To us, if a whole regulatory body charged with the responsibility to ensure that only quality petrol is sold to the general public, could behave in this way, then motorists are not safe in this country.

If this had happened in an advanced country, the authorities there would have attached great importance to the issue, and pounced heavily on the culprit using legal procedures, but this never happened in our case.

Even if the managers of the Abeka Shell filling station in Accra, where the sale of premix as premium/petrol was earlier recorded, had wanted to dispose of the product and hide the evidence, they would have done that with ease, because no security person was put at the place to guard it, after the same BNI and NPA had gone to take samples, when the story broke out.

It is increasingly becoming clear to The Chronicle that there are cabals in the petroleum industry which are bent on thwarting the efforts of the government to ensure that fraud associated with the distribution of premix is halted.

If after changing the colour of premix fuel to blue, people we consider as nation-wreckers are still selling the product as premium/petrol to the unsuspecting public, then it means that there is something wrong with the lifting and distribution chain of the product.

The Chronicle is, therefore, appealing to President Mills to put his feet down, and ensure that only the fishermen have access to premix fuel.

We are also calling on the President to support the call we made a few days ago, that all filling stations in the country must be made to use transparent hoses, to help eliminate some of these fraudulent activities.

We know that the cabals in the industry will never support this idea, since they know that it would expose their nocturnal activities.

If the President intervenes in this matter, we believe that the problem would be appropriately dealt with.

The discovery of oil is driving many investors into the country, and if we allow people to sell premix as premium/petrol to motorists, it would go a long way to affect our investment drive, and this is why The Chronicle is on this crusade to help weed out the charlatans and cabals in the sector. We shall surely return to this subject again.
 
 
 
Source: The Chronicle/Ghana
 
 

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