The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Legal Directorate has announced its intention to initiate prosecutions for criminal acts committed under the National Petroleum Authority Act 2005 (ACT 691) and its related regulations.
This decision comes following the appointment of a public prosecutor by the Attorney General to handle criminal actions arising from the Act.
Ms Farida Ali-Musah, the Head of the Legal Directorate of NPA, made this announcement during a media engagement in Takoradi.
She emphasized the need for collaborative support from the Ghana Police Service, Judiciary, Media, stakeholders, and sister agencies to effectively enforce Executive Instrument (EI) 378.
Ms Ali-Musah noted that the implementation of EI 378 would enhance the NPA’s regulatory oversight and combat the rising wave of criminal activities in the petroleum downstream industry, which has been negatively impacting revenue generation opportunities in the country.
Offenses such as engaging in downstream activities without a license, misapplication of petroleum pricing formula, false statements and withholding of information, obstruction or interference with NPA officers and employees, abuse of tracking and volume monitoring regulations, as well as violations of Petroleum Product Marketing regulations, will be subject to prosecution.
Mrs. Sandra Aidoo, the Western Regional Manager of NPA, disclosed that significant seizures of illegal fuel and crackdowns on “tabletop” fuel operators have been recorded in the region.
Collaborating with the Navy and Marine Police, her team has confiscated 73,000 liters of crude oil and 108,000 liters of diesel from smugglers along the coastal communities between January and April.
While the smugglers involved in the seizure of 108,000 liters of diesel in January are currently standing trial in court, the perpetrators behind the confiscation of 73,000 liters of crude oil in April managed to escape, leaving the crude oil behind. It has since been sent to Accra for necessary action to be taken.
Mrs. Aidoo highlighted the closure of four non-compliant retail outlets during their monitoring exercise and urged the public to refrain from purchasing fuel sold on “tabletops,” as the NPA cannot guarantee the quality of such fuel, despite potentially cheaper prices.
She also revealed plans for a joint operation with the Police and other stakeholders to inspect the operations of “tabletop” fuel operators, considering them a risk to public safety.