The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has decided to revoke the licenses of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) that have been found guilty of diverting large quantities of kerosene supplied them to unknown destinations.
This follows an NPA monitoring exercise that confirmed consumer complaints of the shortage and unavailability of the product in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
A statement signed by NPA Chief Executive, Alexander Mould, said a number of OMCs that lifted kerosene for destinations in the two regions, either did not have retail outlets there, or under-declared the number of outlets.
“Out of the 238 UPPF claims put in by the OMCs, we have confirmed that only 87 of these were valid, with as many as 145 UPPF claims being submitted for outlets that did not exist. The OMCs must provide evidence to confirm where the products for these outlets were discharged,” Mr. Mould explained.
The statement explained further that while the OMCs had indicated that they were supplying 137 kerosene retail outlets in the Ashanti Region, “only 45 stations were found,” and that included five stations that were not initially part of the 137 stations targeted.
In the Brong Ahafo Region, four of the 37 targeted stations did not exist.
The interim report of the monitoring team, according to Mr. Mould, also found out that six claims made for UPPF by some OMCs were invalid, because the dealer invoice numbers did not match that on the UPPF list, “a clear case of fraud on the part of these OMCs.”
Mr. Mould noted that the reports of unavailability were shocking, because kerosene supply had gone up by 300% since July this year, confirming fears that “some unscrupulous persons have been blending kerosene with diesel, due to the huge profit derived from the subsidy on the former.”
In addition to revoking the licences of offending OMCs, the licenses of some retail outlets will be suspended, claims for UPPF reversed, retail outlets closed, and fines imposed for fraudulent claims.
The statement said the monitoring exercise was ongoing throughout the country, and the NPA would ensure the application of the recommended sanctions against the guilty companies and retail outlets.
The NPA assured the consuming public that it would continue to work with the Ghana Standards Board to maintain high quality standards of petroleum products, and halt the adulteration of kerosene with diesel for profit.
“As a way forward, we are considering the option of approving stations that will deal in kerosene in all regions and districts, and ensure continuous verification of deliveries to all approved kerosene stations,” Mr. Mould added.