Over US$490K Fuel Scandal Hits Importers

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An investigation has been launched by the Petroleum Distributors Union of Liberia about a petroleum scandal that involved dozens of importers and distributors throughout the country.

Making the disclosure on Thursday, February 27, the President of the Union, Musa Sheriff said, during the period of December 2019, several petroleum retailers paid an amount of over US$490,000 for 137,500 gallons of mixed products of fuel to giant petroleum importers and distributors in the county and from whom, up to present, the retailers yet to receive their consignment.

“We are conducting the investigation to establish the number of distributors and importers of the petroleum involving the clandestine activities that, if not taken care of, could cause serious problems to the sectors,” Sheriff disclosed.

Sheriff also used the occasion to call on one of the retailers that were victimized through the transaction to remain calm because, according to him, they are not taking the issue lightly.

“Those distributors and importers that are involved with this scandal will be dealt with drastically by the law,” Sheriff assured the retailers, most of whom have resolved to stage a peaceful protest at the compound of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC).

Sheriff also said any distributors or importers involved with this unwholesome business practice of receiving money under the pretense of supplying petroleum products in exchange, those individuals or entities would be made to account for any amount received from the retailers.

“You have the retailers out of business and they cannot cater to their families because they cannot get the product or their money since December 2019, which is very much bad for the country, if they were to stage their demonstration,” Sheriff angrily said. Though he failed to state when his institution would release the investigative report, he stressed that anyone caught in such practices would be dealt with drastically.

According to Sheriff, nobody should blame the LPRC for not having received their pay for petroleum, because the entity is not involved with the sale and distribution of the product as it is the importers that are responsible for the sale of the petroleum products.

“LPRC is only a custodian of the petroleum product for the importers and not responsible to sell the product, so you cannot directly hold them for the situation you find yourself with,” Sheriff added.

It can be recalled that in the wake of the recent gasoline shortage crisis, President George M. Weah commissioned a special taskforce, headed by Trokon Kpui, Minister of state Without Portfolio, to investigate and establish what caused an estimated 60 percent discrepancy between importers’ inventory reports of products at the LPRC’s actual stock of products at its petroleum facilities.

Prior to the establishment of the presidential taskforce, the Minister of Commerce, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh and the LPRC Managing Director, Marie Urey Coleman, appeared before the plenary of the House of Representatives and denied reports of the shortage of gasoline on the market.

House Speaker Chambers, acting upon a decision by plenary, constituted a 21-member specialized committee to verify whether their assertions were true and, if contrary, the committee should establish the factors behind the shortage of gasoline in Liberia.

The Committee, headed by Rep. Zoe Emmanuel Pennue (District #1, Grand Gedeh County), in its preliminary report, debunked the two officials’ claims and hinted the acute shortage of gasoline to several underlying factors, requesting for more time to fully complete its investigation.

This prompted majority members of the House to back a popular motion giving the committee the added time requested, as well as to hold Minister Tarpeh and Director Coleman in contempt for lying under oath and misleading plenary.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

7 COMMENTS

  1. OH YES, INVESTIGATION INTO WHAT? GIVE ME ONLY ONE RESULT NOT TWO RESULTS FROM ALL THE COUNTLESS INVESTIGATIONS INTO CORRUPTION WHEREBY ANYONE WAS HELD ACCOUNTABLE IN LIBERIA. REMEMBER CORRUPTION IS NOT A CRIME AT ALL IN LIBERIA. ONLY THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE CONSISTENT FOOLS LIVING IN UTOPIA WILL THINK CORRUPTION IS A CRIME IN LIBERIA. THE MOST WELL SEASONED CORRUPT PEOPLE ARE THE MOST RESPECTED AND ADMIRED PEOPLE IN LIBERIA, HAHAHAHA, WHAT A SAD TRUE STORY AND WHAT AN IRONY MY PEOPLE. ABSOLUTELY NOT IN THE WESTERN WORLD. WE HAVE A COUNTRY WHERE SO MANY MANY FOOLS ARE LIVING IN PARADISE ON THE DAILY BASIS MY PEOPLE. NO WONDER WHY THE COUNTRY IS SO BACKWARD IN EVERYTHING. A COUNTRY WHERE YOU HAVE THE PEOPLE WORSHIPING THE MOST CORRUPT PEOPLE HAPPILY, UNBELIEVABLE, BUT THAT IS THE REALITY AND IT HAS BECOME A CULTURE IN LIBERIA, WORSHIPING THE MOST CORRUPT. TOO SAD.
    (WATCH)

  2. Holding them in contempt for lying under oath; is this the first case ever in liberia or they the first to lied under oath in liberia especially when it comes to corruption ? we are watching and listining to out come of the investigation:

  3. The skepticism expressed above is warranted! An investigation for what? By the way, who’s going to be punished? The importers of gasoline? Make them mad and no gasoline will be imported for a while. Again, I don’t think an investigation is completely out of whack! But a common sense solution is a lot better than doing a so-called investigation. The idea of an investigation is a comical attempt to blow smoke. Nothing will happen at the end.
    It seems that “some” bureaucrats have cleverly but deceitfully mixed prioritized their responsibilities because of their own selfish interest.

  4. These dodgy economic operators will NEVER mock Liberians again come 2023 when the ANC shall take over the affairs of the State. Keep making mockery of the Liberian people, our foolish governments have given you the green light to do so. Do it and always come out to tease our people.
    Every good thing must come to an end. One good and fateful evening of 2023, the final whistle will be blown.

  5. I think that is the only solution; like them make available,or account for the money/ petrol pay for. I’m a retailer since December I pay up till now I have not received my consignment from LPRC. I’m prepared for any action that will make me to receive my money or the product.

  6. Setting an investigation team is another strategy to quiet angry mob. So many committee had set up on corruption, accident, mysterious death, gas scandal, at the end no substantial report. At the end they shift blame on the previous leadership. Why our nation is greatly deteriorating?

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