Business News Fri, 30 Jun 2017

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CID Probes oil tycoons over GH¢470,000 tax evasion

Investigators from the Criminal Investigations Department have been deployed to the premises of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to investigate circumstances that led to the importation of about 245 metric tonnes of diesel into the country by three Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) without paying taxes to the state.

This was after the managing directors of the three companies were arrested by National Security and handed over to the police CID.

It was discovered that the suspects imported diesel into the country without authority and evaded taxes to the tune of GH¢470,000.

The suspects 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.

They allegedly connived with some officials of the TOR and NPA to secure waybills for the takers to discharge the oil from a vessel at the Tema main port.

Briefing the media, the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department, DCOP Bright Oduro, said the suspects, in connivance with some officials of TOR and NPA, succeeded in categorizing the diesel as sludge (waste oil), for which reason the NPA waived all taxes on the product.

He said some operators in the oil sector had devised the means to defraud the state by evading taxes running into millions of cedis.

In April 2017, Godson Akafo told Yaw Asare that he had secured a contract to clean a marine vessel called the African Asphalt on the high seas and also to collect sludge or waste oil.

He asked for Asare’s vessel, the M.T. Wood Spirit, to execute the contract.

DCOP Oduro said on May 17, 2017, Godson Akafo and his counterpart Michael Ologo agreed to use Timax Development Group owned by Ologo to apply for a permit from the NPA to discharge the sludge from the Tema Port.

The permit was granted, but NPA had to conduct a chemical analysis on the product to ascertain whether it was genuine oil or waste oil.

NPA requested the services of TOR’s Quality Control Unit to ascertain the type, quantity and quality of the product, which was then at the port.

On May 29, 2017, TOR, after a chemical analysis of the sample, stated that its density, viscosity, water – equipment and sediments level made it difficult to ascertain the quality and the type of the product.

On the basis of this, on June 9, 2017, permission was granted for Godson Akafo and Michael Ologo to discharge the sludge aboard the vessel through the main Tema Port.

The suspects were instructed to ensure that the waybill is generated for each of the tanker and also ensure that delivery form is issued by officers of the NPA for every tanker loaded with sludge before the tanker leaves the Tema Port.

Upon a tip-off, the NPA on the same day requested for a second test from an independent company called INTERTEK, which detected that the MT Wood spirit vessel was carrying 245 metric tons (289,940) liters of diesel and not sludge (waste oil) as reported by the Timax.

It was later established that the suspects used the company TIMAX Development Group in an attempt to import gasoil without possessing requisite licence from the NPA to do so.

The Director General of CID stated that the petroleum product may not meet the required national standards. “They also evaded tax worth about fifty percent of the ex- pump price of fuel, causing financial loss to the state.”

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

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