Contaminated oil cartel is ‘security threat’; OMCs call for gov’t action

Chief Executive of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), Kwaku Agyeman-Duah, has said Ghana’s security is at risk if a cartel of illegal fuel operators continues building wealth.

There have long been allegations that some influential business and political moguls are part of a cartel that smuggles oil to neighbouring landlocked countries by redirecting oil meant for export.

The said members of this cartel also import substandard petroleum products – dubbed ‘black oil’ – which are harmful to the environment and engines.

Confirming the existence of the cartel on late night current affairs programme on Joy News (Multi TV), PM Express, on Thursday, Mr Agyeman-Duah said the activities of the cartel creams off more than GH¢1 billion of revenue to OMCs in one year.

“These people are making a lot of money. If you have about GH¢ 1 billion or 1.2 GH¢billion going to a ‘parallel’ industry which is being dominated by a few people they will have so much money they will need to protect the money they have.

“That is where they go with guns. They can buy our security and anybody and it is a seed for terrorist acts,” he told show host Nana Ansah Kwao IV.

Apart from the threat to national security he said more than GH¢850 million that should accrue to the state as revenue is lost every year.

“We have to be alert. These things have happened to certain countries and they couldn’t survive…The security officials know these people,” he laments.

The OMC CEO has called on government to step up efforts to rid the industry of the cartel.
He revealed that a complaint lodged to the industry regulator, National Petroleum Authority (NPA), is receiving attention.

In March this year, Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, said Government will wage a fierce war on the cartel, however, per the revelations of Mr Agyeman-Duah, the ‘black oil cartel’ seems to be thriving.

The call by the OMCs CEO comes amidst ongoing controversy surrounding the sale of contaminated fuel to two unlicensed oil companies – Movenpinaa and Zup Oil – by the Bulk Oil Storage and Distribution Company Limited.

Meanwhile, legislator for Assin Central in the Central Region, Kennedy Agyapong, has alleged that there is a cartel in the raging contaminated fuel saga.

According to him, this is not the first time that fuel has accidentally been contaminated at BOST, and that over the years the practice has been happening and anytime that happens, some members of the cartel get the opportunity to buy the fuel, process and sell it in the open market.