…8 suspects in police custody

From David Allan Paintsil, Cape Coast

The Goil tanker which was being used in the smuggling (left), Narh (M) with the crude oil owners (right)

Even before Ghana officially commences the production of oil in commercial quantities, the mafia groups in the industry have already sounded the warning bells, when eight persons were arrested for allegedly stealing crude oil from the Saltpond oil fields over the weekend.

The suspects are currently in police custody at Cape Coast. They are suspected to have eluded Naval security, and attempted to smuggle large quantities of the ‘black gold’ they had stolen on the high seas.

Residents of Elmina were in a state of fear and panic when the suspects were busted, as most people thought the crude oil had been stolen from the Jubilee Oil Fields, which is to start commercial production on Wednesday.

The police have, however, denied that the crude oil was stolen from the Jubilee fields, but rather the Saltpond Oil Fields where a similar theft occurred, a couple of years back.

The Central Regional Police Patrol team, in the early hours of Sunday, arrested the eight suspects at the Elmina beach.

The suspects had two canoes full of crude oil, one of which bore the name ‘Confidence in Jesus’. The canoes landed at the Elmina Beach, where they reloaded it into a GOIL tanker, with registration number GT4372E, to be taken to an unknown destination.

The suspects are Ebenezer Narh, driver of the GOIL tanker, Freeman Erskine, Isaac Nortey, Evans Nutsugah and Kanotey Tekotey. Others are Eric Eddico, Paa Kofi and Gilbert Affum.

Briefing the press in Cape Coast on Sunday, the Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Corporal Raymond Asaaba, said the suspects were currently in police custody, awaiting further investigations.

According to him, the police had a hint about the operation of the suspects, laid ambush at vantage points at Elmina, and succeeded in arresting the suspects, who were then transferring the crude oil into the GOIL tanker.

According to Corporal Asaaba, although the suspects had said that they brought the crude oil from Saltpond, the police was yet to take their statements.

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