Editorial: Fuel adulteration raises its ugly head again?

October 13, 2021 By 0 Comments

One of the major problems that confronted Ghana in the past was fuel adulteration. Some unscrupulous Ghanaians were in the habit of adulterating fuel, especially when price of petrol shot up. They normally execute their criminal conduct by mixing other petroleum products that are relatively cheaper with petrol, and sell it to unsuspecting motorists, or the general public.

These adulterated fuels, when purchased from the filling stations, affect the performance of car engines, and sometimes damaging them. Indeed, in those days, one of the management members of The Chronicle purchased adulterated fuel at Abeka, a suburb of Accra.  The said management member subsequently reported the issue to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), where it was confirmed that the fuel had been adulterated.

One of the leading oil marketing companies operating in the country that owned the outlet, subsequently, withdrew the license of the operator. Unfortunately, The Chronicle did not hear anything about the prosecution of those involved in the criminal act. As we put this piece together, the said filling station has been renovated and is being operated by another oil marketing company.

Much as we found the lapses on the part of the regulator – NPA – for failing to enforce prosecution very disturbing, we were happy when the decision was taken to colour premix fuel, which was, and still, heavily subsidised by the government. The decision was taken after the government came to the conclusion that, because the product was cheap, these criminals were buying it and mixing it with petrol to sell, making huge profits in the process.

The development helped to cut down the issue of fuel adulteration drastically, thereby protecting the engines of vehicles purchased at great cost to the owners. The Chronicle is, however, disturbed that the issue of fuel adulteration has raised its ugly head once again.

According to a report carried by the Ghanaian Times yesterday, the police have arrested a tanker driver at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Depot in Kumasi for allegedly mixing foreign materials with petrol, with the aim of re-selling the product.

The story further stated that about fifteen tanker drivers were involved in the act, but they managed to run away, leaving behind the one who was arrested. The story did not explain the kind of foreign materials the tanker drivers were using, but the possibility of using kerosene or even premix cannot be ruled out.

But for the timely intervention of the police, these tanker drivers would have transported the product to fuel stations they had connived with to sell to the public.

The Chronicle finds the latest development very disturbing, and calls on both BOST and the NPA to join hands with the police to conduct thorough investigations into the case. The probe must uncover the filling stations that receive these sub-standard products, and punish the owners according to the dictate of the laws governing these two state-owned oil related companies.

Should they fail to do this, the illegal trade will flourish on the black market, and the loser would be vehicle owner. Petroleum business the world is controlled by cabals whose main focus is to make huge profits at the expense of the consumer. It is, therefore, the duty of the government or the sector regulators to always be on top of the game before they are outsmarted.

These tanker drivers, and their fuel station collaborators, do not care about the damage they causing – their interest is the illegal money they are making.

We see this as very unfortunate, and that is why the state must come in to remedy the harm being caused to motorists.