POLICE in Dar es Salaam have impounded about 68 gas cylinders belonging to the Tanzania Oxygen Ltd (TOL), which were being illegally possessed by Chinese gas dealers.
The cylinders were intercepted on Wednesday at a storage facility of a gas company (name withheld) located along Nyerere Road, according to Temeke regional authorities. A handful of reporters were there at the scene when several plain-clothed and uniformed police officers, in collaboration with TOL officials, conducted a surprise inspection and found the cylinders.
"These people have a habit of possessing our cylinders against the lawÉwe have been reporting these cases to the police, but we have not seen any positive results. "TOL continues to incur huge loses triggered by massive thefts of our gas cylinders," disappointed TOL Sales Officer, Abdalah Kasumwali, who was leading a TOL inspection team in assisting police officers identify stolen cylinders, said.
Temeke Regional Police Commander (RPC), Engelbert Kiondo confirmed the recovery of the cylinders, but noted police were handling the matter carefully in the course of investigation. "This is a complex business issue pitting gas dealers/companies, which requires polite and liberal approach instead of using force."
Police officers and TOL officials faced some difficulties while recovering the cylinders as the Chinese investors refused to release them on the grounds that "the cylinders were brought by customers."
According to the TOL Managing Director, Daniel Warungu, the campaign seeks to recover about 10,000 cylinders (worth around 3bn/-) which are being possessed illegally by gas dealers."
Hundreds of gas cylinders were impounded, with several people arrested in a series of operations conducted by police and TOL officials in different parts of the country - including Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, Tanga, Mbeya, Mwanza, just to mention a few.
"Although we thank the police for their cooperation, we would like to see the culprits being charged for possessing our cylinders illegally. That has been our concern and will remain our major concern for days to come. We want to see action against thefts and gas dealers involved in illegal business,' observed Warungu.