When the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) recently arrested and punished some petrol dealers in the country for various offences, ranging from adjustment of pumping machines to adulteration of fuel, many were those who thought cheating at the fuel stations had been eliminated.
The Chronicle can report authoritatively that cheating at the pumping stations is rather on the rise. Most fuel stations across the country continue to cheat their unsuspecting customers. Conservative estimates indicate that Ghanaian drivers and car owners are robbed of thousands of Ghana cedis on a daily basis.
Latest information reaching The Chronicle indicates that fuel attendants have taken advantage of the ignorance of their customers to fleece them dry.
A number of unsuspecting customers who have fallen foul of this naked robbery told The Chronicle that the quantity of fuel they pay for at the pumps never get into their fuel tanks.
Mr. Andrew William Parker, a Graphic Designer at The Chronicle, told this reporter that while travelling with his brother to Kumasi early this year, they bought fuel at one of the stations along the Accra-Pokuase Road, only to realise a few miles away that the fuel gauge of the car had not moved up. They suspected straight away that the fuel they paid for was not delivered.
When they returned to the fuel station and challenged the attendant, he did not dispute their claim and pumped the right petrol they had earlier paid for into their tank.
The Editor of The Chronicle, Mr. Ebo Quansah, also told this writer that he filled his tank at a petrol station around Legon, but upon reaching the 37 Military Hospital area, he realised that his car was jerking. Mechanics later told him that there was no fuel in the car.
A member of the Communications team of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Sammy Awuku, narrated a similar experience to The Chronicle. He said on Monday April 18 this year, he drove into a fuel station near the Ghana Institute of Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra to buy petrol.
He said after the attendant had pumped in the GH¢30 worth of fuel he demanded, he decided to take money from his wallet. At that moment, he instinctively decided to look at the pump machine a few seconds later, only to realise that he already been supplied with 28 litres of petrol.
When he challlenged the attendant, Sammy noted, he (attendant) pumped the right quantity of fuel into the tank without hesitation.
Mr. Fiifi Boafo, host of Oman FM’s morning show, narrated a similar ordeal he went through at the hands of the cheating fuel attendants.
Other consumers who spoke to The Chronicle alleged that the pumps at most of the stations had been adjusted, and called on the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to strictly monitor the various fuel stations across the country.
The Public Relations Manager of the NPA, Mr. Steve Larbi, told The Chronicle that as a result of complaints from the public about cheating at fuel stations, his outfit has introduced what he called the ’10 litre can,’ a measurement criteria introduced to check fraud at pumping stations all over the country.
According to him, any consumer who suspects that he or she has been short-changed has the right to demand that fuel be pumped into a can that takes 10 litres of fuel.
Larbi said the can which was manufactured by the Ghana Standards Board and has markings on it would tell the consumer whether he or she has been cheated.
This can be determined if the fuel falls below the 10 litre mark on the can. The spokesperson for the NPA said any fuel station that refuses to make available the 10 litre can on demand was in breach of the law and must immediately, be reported to the NPA.
The Managing Director of Shell Ghana Limited – a leading fuel retail company in the country – Mr. Gmar Benson, told The Chronicle that his outfit had put all the necessary security measures in place to avoid cheating, and assured that should they receive reports about malpractices, they would be dealt with them immediately.
Gmar Benson said apart from the 10 litre can which customers can demand, Shell has a policy to check the quality of petrol every morning before it is sold to the public. This is to ensure that no foreign materials seep into the underground tank to contaminate the product.
Early last year, The Chronicle exposed a fuel station at Abeka, a suburb of Accra, which was selling petrol mixed with premix fuel to the public. After the publication, both the NPA and National Security moved in and closed down the station.
The public was, however, not informed whether the contaminated petrol in the underground tank was destroyed or not.
A similar report was carried by this paper from Takoradi, where a station mixed petrol with premix fuel. The report was also investigated by the NPA.
Mr. Larbi explained that offences of this nature received by the NPA attract punishments, including heavy fines, some of which were as high as GH¢20,OOO.
Source: The Chronicle