Hoarding and profiteering is the centerpiece of many businesses' strategies that have long gone unchallenged. Law enforcement officers and policy have long snored on the tricks and artifices of traders in the country, leaving the burden for end users of vital products and commodities to tot. But it seems that Government is now awake in the aftermath of recent seemingly artificial shortage of gasoline. Big names in the petrol business were among those booked, as The Analyst reports.
A report released by the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company has revealed that what appeared to be shortage of petroleum products in the country was actually artificial, and a scheme by some businesses in the petrol sector to abuse and exploit.
According to the report from a random survey conducted on illegal sales of petroleum products in Liberia by unscrupulous persons, several filling stations minced on the sale of the crucial commodity or simply turned away buyers claiming unavailability.
The investigation which covered Central Monrovia, Bushrod Island, Paynesville and Gardnesville was carried out by an inspection team that included personnel from LPRC Security section, Operations Department, Commerce Ministry and Liberia National Police.
During the investigation the team discovered, for instance, Total Gas Station, 5th Street, Sinkor, had its tank dipped and it was discovered that stationed hauled park of products was not not selling it, prompting the Commerce Ministry to serve the said station a letter of invitation to give reasons why it was hoarding.
Also at the SP Gas Station, 12th Street, the crew discovered that the gas station had petroleum products but refused sell it to the public.
On Bushrod Island at Bassa Buchanan Gas Station, it was discovered that 65 gallons of gasoline (PMS) was found unsold while customers were in search of gas.
At The SP Gas Station, Jamaica Road, the team of investigators discovered that the filling station had 775 gallons of gasoline (PMS) but refused to sell. It also received a letter of invitation to state reasons why they are not selling.
For Aminata Gas Station in Logan Town, Opposite Toyota Garage, it was found that 725 gallons of gasoline (PMS) was in its tank but refused to sell, so was also the Tweh Farm gas station, which had 270 gallons of gasoline (PMS) unsold to customers.
The crew also visited the Ultimate Gas Station and discovered about 65Ogallons of gasoline (PMS) which pump attendants were selling L$335 more than the Standard Price of Petroleum products prescribed by Commerce Ministry. The filling station was charged for economy sabotage and a letter of invitation sent to its management to state reasons why they are selling more than the standard price.
The C. Omaru Filling Station, Battery Factory had 500 gallons of gasoline (PMS)were again discovered and they were served a letter of invitation to state reasons why they are not selling. For Makeshift Gas Station, Gardnerville, its management was caught selling a gallon of gasoline (PMS) L$390 per gallon. The pump head of the said Gas Station was taken to the nearest Police Station for theft or exploitation.
According to the report, the Prophet Filling Station was caught selling a gallon of gasoline (PMS) L$400.OO per gallon. The Sales Manager insulted and also attacked crew for conducting a survey to his Station. The crew later invited the Police to the Filling Station and the Sales Manager escaped.
For Aminiata Gas Station, Benson Street, the crew found that all sales were aligned with the standard price on petroleum products, especially PMS & AGO etc, in Liberia.
SP Filling Station at Battery Factory had more than 400 gallons of gasoline (PMS) which they refused to sell to the public. They were served a letter of invitation to state reasons why they are not selling.