Six officials from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) have been invited by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service for their alleged involvement in an oil deal that led to the evasion of taxes by three oil dealers.
Four of the officials are from TOR, while two are from the NPA.
They are alleged to have connived with three managing directors who allegedly evaded tax totalling GH¢470,000 by misleading the NPA and TOR into believing that they had imported sludge (waste oil) into the country, for which reason the NPA waived all taxes on the product.
According to the Director-General of the CID, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Bright Oduro, the names of the six officials were being withheld for security reasons.
He said the alleged action by the six officials had serious implications since the supply of petroleum products that did not meet the required national standards could affect the supply chain.
The CID boss indicated that investigations so far conducted by the police pointed to the fact the arrest of the managing directors of Western Marine Company, Timax Development Group, and Marine Tanker Wood Spirit and the six officials from TOR and the NPA was not the first to have occurred and that the police would not rest until they got to the bottom of such cases.
“This incident provides a good opportunity for the country to send clear signals to perpetrators of illegal importation that the act would not be tolerated and anybody caught in the act would be dealt with accordingly,” Mr Oduro said.
The managing directors of three companies in Tema were busted early this week for allegedly importing diesel without authority and evading tax.
They are alleged to have succeeded in categorising the diesel as waste oil, for which reason the NPA waived all taxes on the product.
They are Godson Akafo, the MD of Western Marine Company; Michael Ologo, the MD of Timax Development Group, and Justice Yaw Asare, the MD of Marine Tanker Wood Spirit.
The three are alleged to have imported the diesel into the country without authorisation and with the connivance of some officials of TOR and the NPA.
The National Security, which effected the arrest, is working with the CID to identify and apprehend the TOR and NPA officials who are alleged to be involved in the fraudulent act.
According to Mr Oduro, some operators in the oil sector had devised means of defrauding the state by evading the payment of taxes running into several thousands or millions of cedis.
He said in April 2017, Akafo approached Asare that he had secured a job to clean a marine vessel called the African Asphalt on the high seas and also to collect sludge or waste oil, for which reason he needed the services of Asare’s vessel, the M.T. Wood Spirit, to execute the contract.
Mr Oduro said on May 17, 2017, Akafo and Ologo agreed to use the Timax Development Group, owned by Ologo, to apply for a permit from the NPA for it to discharge sludge from the Tema Port.
He said the permit was granted, but the NPA had to conduct a chemical analysis on the product to ascertain whether it was genuine oil or waste oil.
The NPA then requested the services of TOR’s Quality Control Unit to sample it and ascertain the type, quantity and quality of the product, which was then at the anchorage.
According to Mr Oduro, TOR, after the chemical analysis on May 29, 2017, stated in its report that it was difficult to ascertain the quality, viscosity or actual type of product.
Notwithstanding the report, the NPA still went ahead to grant the permit to Ologo and Asare to discharge the waste oil aboard the vessel through the main Tema Port.
He said during the berthing and discharging operations, the three suspects managed to secure waybills for the tankers that carried the waste oil, as well as delivery form, and they cleared all the oil from the vessel at the port without paying any tax or customs duty because it was presumed to be waste oil.
Source: Daily Graphic
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