5 Suspected petroleum smugglers arrested
Five persons suspected to be part of a cartel engaged in the smuggling of petroleum products have been arrested.
Their arrest followed a seven-hour joint operation in the night by the National Security and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) at the Kpone landing beach, near Tema, last Monday.
The Communications Manager of the NPA, Mr Anny Osabutey, told the Daily Graphic in Accra on Wednesday that two trucks loaded with 300 containers with about 9,000 litres of fuel and two outboard motors were confiscated from the suspects.
Samples of the seized products were expected to undergo laboratory tests by NPA officials to authenticate their quality.
The identity of the leader of the syndicate has been given as Isaac Allotey, 34.
However, the identities of the remaining four, including the owner of one of the life boats, were not disclosed.
Mr Osabutey said the suspects were in custody, assisting the National Security in its investigations.
The underground business involves the smuggling of inferior fuel products from the high seas into the country, a practice which does not only cause revenue loss to the state but also poses a threat to human health.
According to the NPA, Allotey told security officials that he had bought each container of fuel at GH¢80 and sold it at GH¢100.
Mr Osabutey said Allotey claimed he usually paid GH¢10,000 in both cash and in food items to the crew of the vessels on the high seas before the products were sold to him.
The smuggling of petroleum products has been of great concern to the NPA, the National Security and the oil marketing companies (OMCs), as it negatively affects government’s revenue and the profit margins of the OMCs and the country at large.