Police implicated in illegal fuel smuggling

18 Jan 2015 21:00

Some illegal fuel traders in Ohangwena
are working in collusion with some
rogue police officers to smuggle crude
oil into the country through the busy
Oshikango border Post, The Villager has
uncovered.
An investigation done by The Villager
during the hype of the festive season revealed
that the illegal traders use some rogue cops who
man the border between Angola and Namibia to
smuggle the illegal fuel into the country.
The police officers are used to cross over to
Angola and to buy the fuel in huge quantities
and are remunerated for it.
Although it has been difficult to ascertain the
frequency of the illicit dealings nor the figure
The Villager investigation team independently
identified police officers working in collusion
with the smugglers fleecing the country
potential revenue and also breaching the
country’s border and import controls.
Namibian Police Public Relations
Division Head, Deputy Commissioner Edwin
Kanguatjivi said that such practices should be
treated as an urgent matter and an investigation
instituted.
“Honestly speaking that is something that
needs to be investigated. The police should
work hand in hand with the media. You can
either give us the information now so that we
can go investigate right away or when your
story come out we will go investigate as soon
as possible. When it comes to the exportation
and importation of oil products there are control
measures that are in place and it’s illegal that
people go in Angola and go fill in their drums
and come sell it in Namibia,” he said.
On the implications of police officers he
said, “Then it’s a good story if there are police
officers who are confiscating the illegal oil but
then on the other hand for those that are helping
the people to go buy illegal oil will force us to
act and we will act.”
Commenting on the revelations Namibian
Police Commissioner General Sebastian
Ndeitunga said such practices are not condoned
by the law adding that he will call the regional
crime commander of the area and those found
wanting will answer to the law and face the
music.
“It was not brought to my attention but I will
instruct the regional commander to look into
that and institute an investigation. Those that
are committing this crime be it police officers or
civilians will be charged accordingly. We have
a relevant act which is used against the officers
when they have committed an offence and
we could be talking about dismissal, fine or a
charge that can lead to imprisonment,” he said.
Meanwhile the Minister of Safety and
Security, Immanuel Ngatjizeko refrained
from making any comment instead asking
the information to be send to his office for
investigation purposes.
Some of the petrol merchants who spoke
to The Villager on condition of anonymity
confirmed the use the connections with the
officers at the border post at Oshikango to
smuggle in containers of petrol in the country.
“Oil prices has been increasing almost every
month in Namibia and the prices have become
too much to take while if you go into Angola
you can fill your tank at a half price of the one
they ask in Namibia. But people have realised
that if you actually buy a lot of petrol you can
make money in Namibia and that’s how we
came in this business,” said a petrol merchant
who chose to remain anonymous.
The petrol smuggled from Angola is sold
cheaply, as a 25 litre container which will go
for more than N$600 when being bought from
Namibia only goes for N$350 per container.
While the 5 litre goes for a mere N$60 while it
would cost more than N$90 in Namibia. Such
prices have resulted in customers snubbing
the Namibian petrol stations for the Angolan
stations. The Minister of Mines and Energy,
Isak Katali however said that they can’t do
anything as they don’t have the mandate curb
illegal dealings.
“When there is illegal dealing going on be
it if its oil or drugs, that’s the responsibility
of the police under the Ministry of Safety
and Security as the Ministry of Mines is only
responsible for putting up the laws. Going to
buy oil from Angola and come sell it in Namibia
is a dangerous practice and it’s necessary that
the Ministry of Safety is briefed so that it can go
investigate and curb this practice,” Katali said.
He added that, “there is nothing illegal
however for a person to go in Angola and fill
his tank because the Angolans also fill their
cars in Namibia lets say if they are travelling.
It’s the same with South Africans. But if people
are coming to sell the oil then the police should
arrest them.”
The illegal dealing comes at a time when
Government is negotiating with the Angolan
Government to import oil.
“That’s still in the process and yes we are
still discussing because oil negotiations is not
just something that you discuss in a day and
conclude the following day. There are logistics
to be followed and we are following that,” said
Katali.