The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is advocating a review of the law setting it up to give it powers to prosecute smugglers of petroleum products.
Pursuant to the current law, the authority can only impose a fine, suspend or ban companies that engage in illegal activities.
The authority has, since September last year, apprehended more than 20 individuals, 42 bulk road vehicles (BRVs), four canoes and other equipment used in the smuggling of fuel products.
The NPA’s vigilance, with the help of the Ghana Navy and the National Security, has resulted in saving GH¢910.4 million, which would have ended up in the pockets of individuals and businesses engaged in illegal activities in the petroleum downstream sector.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NPA, Mr Alhassan Tampuli, who made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the authority was continuously playing its role to ensure that the government did not lose revenue to rogues.
He said a number of arrests had been made in the past but prosecutions were yet to begin.
“We appreciate the work of investigators but we believe the prosecution of culprits in the petroleum downstream sector will be much faster if the NPA is given the mandate to do so,” Mr Tampuli noted.
“We need to move with speed and precision. We can only do that when we are mandated by law to prosecute perpetrators,” Mr Tampuli said.
Mr Tampuli indicated that effective prosecution leading to the conviction of culprits would go a long way to curb illegal activities in the petroleum downstream sector.
Mr Tampuli said there was an exercise to install software-backed Automatic Tank Gauging Systems (ATGs) and flow meters at all depots nationwide and emphasised that “this will ultimately be linked to another system to help monitor stocks of products received in-tank and volumes of products lifted from depots”.
He said the Petroleum Products Marking LI 2187 would be revised to deliver stiffer sanctions and penalties, including prosecution and withdrawal of licences.
Mr Tampuli said the NPA, and for that matter the government, was setting up an Export Task Force to be stationed at key checkpoints along the designated export routes to check smuggling.