FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

Liberia: Clamping Down On Cheats - Liberia's Commerce Ministry Hooks Fraudster Gas Filling Stations

The Ministry of Commerce has named and shamed filling stations in Monrovia that are involved in cheating petroleum end users.

Inspections by the ministry has uncovered fraud in serving of customers at thirteen gas stations out of eighteen stations inspected.

"Two of the gas stations Liberia Petroleum (LP) Carey/Lynch Streets and Don Kan By-Pass performed poorly and failed the accuracy tests, showing volume readings dispensed to be far below the actual one U.S gallon," Commerce Minister Axel Addy said.

The Minister of Commerce has warned the public not to buy from the below listed filling stations where he said pumps were reading far below the minimum standard or outside the accepted error limit.

The Commerce Ministry names Liberia Petroleum (LP) gas station Lynch and Carey streets ,LP Vamoma, Super Petroleum (SP) U.N Drive-Newport streets, SP Airfield, Don Kan Capital By-pass, Don Kan Catholic Junction, SP Jallah Town, PMS 7TH Street, Sinkor, Liberia-Afric Service Station 11th Sinkor, International Gas Station 11th Sinkor, SP 9TH Sinkor as the fillinf stations involved in the fraudulent act.

"Sixty-seven percent failed the accuracy test of volume meaning the actual one U.S 1 gallon." This situation clearly confirms the suspicion of the public about the accuracy of the actual gallon discharged at the pump," Minister Addy said.

Jonathan Kollie, a Taxi driver says the news about filling stations stealing from them [drivers] is something he suspected long time.

Kollie said the half-gallon sold to them instead of one gallon has made many drivers to take their cars to garage for repair when actually it does not have any problem.

"My brother first I thought my car was burning too much gas but I bought a new one and it continued, so I started suspecting certain gas stations," Kollie said.

Kollie thanked the Ministry of Commerce for the "bold" step they have taken to expose those gas stations involved in such act.

He said, what is of concern to him is whether the exercise is just for Christmas or a continuous process.

Kollie said, this is what the Ministry of Commerce should be doing instead of sitting in offices and waiting for pay check at the end of the month.

The Commerce Minister said, the fraud discovered shows that people who purchase petroleum got half gallon instead of one gallon.

"Government is the highest purchaser of petroleum so it means that we are losing US$ 783,000 to these stations," Addy said.

Minister Addy said, the inspection was to verify gas stations for compliance with the General Business Law and conformity to technical regulations and international standards.

Axel said, three gas stations showed high degree of compliance adding that they include Total Liberia 5th street Sinkor and Capitol Bypass and Super Petroleum, Old Road.

Minister Addy said, the ministry will ensure that the public gets value for money spent adding that business entities will benefit from a more transparent business environment.

Addy said that the ministry of commerce has fine and forward some of those institutions found cheating petroleum end users.

"Their pumps were not calibrated we reported it to justice for gross violation." The commerce of yesterday is not the commerce of today," He added.

The Commerce Minister name the lack of standard and enforcement as factors responsible for the quality of service the public receive.

The head of Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company T. Nelson William said, they [LPRC] are going to withhold all licenses that should be distributed to petrol service providers' base on the information provided by the Commerce ministry.

Director Williams said his decision is intended to ensure that those who are involved in the petroleum business adhere to guidelines set by Commerce.

"We are doing this to ensure petroleum dealers do not take advantage of end-users," Williams added.

The Commerce Ministry honored Total Liberia and SP Old Road for meeting the standard set and compliance by government of Liberia.

SP Old Road Operational Manager Ansu Kanneh said, his management is pleased to be honored by the ministry adding that they [SP Old Road] will follow the rules set by the ministry.

Kanneh said, his filling station will always strive to do what is right so, as to protect the consumers interest.

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