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Fuel smuggling has national security implications – Gbevlo Lartey
From: Ghana l Myjoyonline.com          Published On: February 14, 2013, 11:16 GMT
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Fuel smuggling has national security implications – Gbevlo Lartey

National Security Coordinator Col. (retd.) Gbevlo Lartey believes fuel smuggling is very costly to the nation

The smuggling of large volumes of fuel from Ghana to neighbouring countries is not just an economic issue. According to National Security Coordinator Col. (retd.) Larry Gbevlo Lartey, the practice also has serious national security implications.

That is the reason, he said, that security agencies have launched “Operation Hunter” to curtail the smuggling and blunt any potential security challenges it may pose.

Col. Gbevlo Lartey, who was speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Thursday, said his Togolose counterpart had called him to raise concerns over the situation.

He rejected suggestions that the government is simply relying on the illegal activities to justify its plans to remove fuel subsidies, which are keeping the cost of petroleum products artificially low.

While refusing to justify the removal of fuel subsidies, the national security coordinator did acknowledge that if the price of fuel in Ghana were not lower than in neighbouring countries, there would not be an incentive to smuggle the product out.

Ghanaians must decide whether heavily subisdising fuel at the expense of key infrastructural developments is prudent, he stressed.

Col. Gbevlo Lartey said that security agencies will not be drawn into policy debates but commended them for playing their role in addressing a situation that is undermining the nation’s economy and security.

Operation Hunter has led to the arrest of certain would-be fuel smugglers, who he reported would be prosecuted.

He explained that any security officers found to be colluding with criminals in the illegal fuel trade would also be dealt with according to the law.

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