17 arrested in oil smuggling scheme

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) in collaboration with National Security and the Ghana Armed Forces has arrested 13 persons suspected to be part of a cartel dealing in smuggling petroleum products.

The suspects, who were arrested following a tip-off, were transferring fuel from a ship to drums and gallons around the shores of Aflao in the Volta Region.

Seven drums, 76 empty drums, 32 filled yellow gallons (25-litre) of diesel and 20 empty containers were retrieved from them during the operation that lasted for about five hours.

Investigations conducted revealed that the suspects used only text messages to communicate with the ship’s captain, and are only able to identify the particular ship they are to approach to conduct their illegalities when lights on all other docked ships are off.

Investigations have commenced into the incident to ascertain more details about the operation.

In a related development, four people are in the custody of Eastern Naval Command for engaging in illegal siphoning of fuel from 2 ‘canoe tankers’ to a fuel tanker vehicle.

The four suspects are Ali Christopher, Nii Armah Odatey, Richard Adjetey and Yetuwell Immabasalam, who were arrested during their operation at Tema Fishing Harbour around 12-midnight.

The tanker vehicle with registration number GN 2931-12 was confiscated together with 16,000 litres of fuel, a pumping machine and fuel hose. Unfortunately, the tanker boat and its operators slipped away. A seaward search was mounted for the boats but proved futile.

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The NPA is determined to sanitise the industry and therefore urges the public to continue with their support in the fight against fuel smuggling.

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