The Chief Executive Officer of National Petroleum Authority(NPA), Hassan Tampuli has issued a stern warning to those who are engaging in fuel smuggling to desist from the act, saying his outfit will pursue such criminals wherever they are.
He said the NPA will not rest in dealing with criminals engaging in fuel smuggling.
Hassan Tampuli who described fuel smugglers as ‘birds that fly from one place to the other without stopping’ said so has NPA also become a hunter who will not stop pursuing them wherever they go.
“Those fuel smugglers I will say that they are like birds that from flies from places so we will also become hunters. We will pursue them everywhere they go,” he stated.
The warning follows the arrest of some fuel smugglers on Friday, 13th April 2018 in Ghanaian waters by officials of Ghana Navy.
The suspects were arrested by Ghana Navy Officials in collaboration with National Petroleum Authority(NPA) and other security agencies on Friday, evening around 6 pm, when they were allegedly offloading 320 metric tonnes of crude from a vessel into another vessel.
The incident comes barely a week ago when five people were also arrested in Kpone near Tema for engaging in similar acts.
Briefing journalists in Tema on Saturday, 14th April 2018, Commodore Issah Yakubu, from the Naval Headquarters in Accra, said the suspects were spotted transferring crude from MT Mammy Mary into Matrix 1 and were therefore arrested since what they were doing was an illegality.
“Yesterday through our intelligence networks were able to detect an illegal activity. This was involving Ship to Ship(STS) transfer of oil at sea. Before this activity can take place certain protocols have to be followed, but we suspected that this was not followed and they are being detained,” he explained.
“What they also told us is that the vessel has 1000 metric tons capacity but they had 320 metric tons of fuel. This is just the beginning.We’re yet to do the investigation to know what is the actual quantity of fuel,” he added.
He said preliminary investigations revealed that the two vessels were all registered in Nigeria.
It is not clear whether the crude in question was stolen from the country’s Jubilee Oil Fields or was stolen from elsewhere and was just being transferred into another vessel in Ghana.
Commodore Issah Yakubu said the two vessels will be detained until all the relevant agencies conclude their investigations.
He warned those who are engaging in illegal fuel smuggling to desist from the acts, saying all the agencies are re-strategizing to deal with such criminals.
Speaking to MyNewsGh.com Chief Executive Officer of NPA Hassan Tampuli, said NPA will intensify its collaboration with other agencies to stamp out illegal fuel activities in the country.
Hassan Tampuli who expressed worry about the development noted that his outfit had done a lot in dealing with fuel smuggling in the country.
He said “as I speak to you we have impounded five trucks and are currently at the CID Headquarters. Last week, we arrested some people at Kpone and seized about 200 gallons of fuel and some outboard motors.”
“We went to Hamile(Ghana-Burkina Faso border) in the Upper West to meet with those who are into fuel export and we’re doing all this to ensure that we curtail illegal fuel activities,” he added.
Regarding the arrest, he said his outfit will find out whether the suspects have license to operate or not adding that ” we will also ascertain whether they bought the product from Ghana or it was a stolen product.”
He explained that ” the outcome of our investigation into the issue is what will trigger the necessary sanctions that have to be applied to them.”