Business News of Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Allegations of premix fuel smuggling have emerged in the Volta Region distribution chain amid the uncovered nationwide premix fuel diversion scandal.
The scandal came to light after Citi News found out that the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), has cited over 200 cases of premix fuel diversions since January to October 2017.
In the latest development, the Volta Regional Premix fuel Coordinator, Johnson Avuletey, conveyed the suspicions of some fishermen who accused his southern sector coordinator, Elikem Sewordor, of leading an organized operation of diverting and hoarding the fuel meant for the fisher-folk in the region.
According to Mr. Avuletey, his attention was drawn to the massive diversion following complaints by the fisher-folk about shortage of the product, although enough fuel has been supplied to the area.
“I am surprised that a lot of premix is coming to the region, but the fisher-folk are still complaining… I realized that some of the coordinators are not living up to expectations. They are doing their own thing,” he told Citi News.
Elikem Sewordor, who is said to be the coordinator of the entire marine belt including sections of the Volta Lake in the Tongu enclave, was accused of being the leader of a cabal that smuggles some of the fuel to Togo, and later sells the hoarded ones to fisher-folk at exorbitant prices.
Mr. Avuletey said he was in Togo about two months ago, and he managed to intercept a tricycle with Kufuor gallons carrying premix.
“When I stopped them, I realized it was full of premix. So that is the job they are doing. But I could not do anything so I just left it like that,” he recounted.
Mr. Avuletey said complaints were made against Elikem Sewordor.
“For the south, in my meetings with them, on three occasions, they complained bitterly about the coordinator, Elikem… Elikem being the coordinator, was a secretary to almost 10 landing beach committees, which is not proper.”
“When I questioned him [Elikem Sewordor], he will say now he is no longer the secretary to those committees,” Mr. Avuletey said.
Mr. Avuletey added that, although he has plans to sanitize the activities of the fuel supply to the fisher-folk, he is handicapped in terms of logistics and supposed interference from the head office.
“If we can put a very good mechanism on the ground, this hullabaloo will stop.” When contacted, Elikem Sewordor, declined to comment on the matter, explaining that he is receiving treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile, some fisher-folk who declined to speak on record for fear of victimization, revealed that they are paying for premix at very high prices, although the product is subsidized by government.