…Cartel Fingered For Huge Revenue Loss To The State
A cartel described as ‘Goro Old Men’ operating in the Ghanaian oil industry and identified to be responsible for huge revenue loss to the state, has been sighted on the radar of the security operatives of the nation.
Their nefarious activities involved the fraudulent use of foreign vehicle registration number plates in the lifting of fuel and the smuggling of same products from questionable sources at high seas into the country.
The paper gathered that the cartel, which went underground during and immediately after the 2016 general elections, resurfaced in the last three months.
Deputy Finance Minister, Honourable Kwaku Kwarteng, and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, made the disclosure during a visit to the Tema Port last week.
According to the two officials, government is descending heavily on the cartel to not only plug revenue leakage, but also to ensure that petroleum products entering the country meet the required specification to avert any health hazards.
Information available to the paper has it that the cartel, which always tried to have links to the powers-that-matter anytime in government, load the bulk transporters, bearing foreign vehicle registered number plates, with the fuel products intended for export to the Sahelian states and therefore attracts no tax in Ghana.
After exiting the loading points in the Accra Plains Depot (APD), Chase Petroleum, Tema Fueltrade, Sahara and Cirrus, the registration numbers are replaced with those of Ghanaian and driven to tanker yards at the Tema Heavy Industrial Area, the Kpone Barrier and Ashaiman, where the diversion takes place by means of transferring into different bulk transporters.
The otherwise export product ends up at local filling stations with no taxes effected.
As to what happens to the documentation, an agent is dispatched with the waybills to the borders where they are fraudulently entered as having crossed into the neighbouring state.
On the high seas venture, it was established that the cartel, which benefits from financial support from some known business tycoons in the country, reportedly earlier adopted a strategy to discharge, at the harbour, sludge from vessels anchored off the Tema Port, but shifted to smuggling of petrol and diesel.
Another area of concern, apart from the loss of revenue, is the unknown sources of these smuggled petroleum products.