GEA continues fight against smuggled fuel
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, February 08, 2018
The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) continues the fight against the illegal importation of fuel.
Head of the agency, Dr. Mahender Sharma, at a recent forum, said currently there are seven ongoing cases before the courts while compensation in the sum of $1,273,000, in lieu of prosecution, was accepted from four individuals for the offence of possession of illegal petroleum. Sharma also said that GEA has recorded five convictions and one dismissal during 2017.
The smuggling of illegal fuel continues to be a major issue plaguing the energy sector. In 2017, the country’s main energy agency, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) seized a total of 20,925 gallons of illegal fuel, a similar amount to that in 2016.
Further, Dr. Sharma said last year GEA’s Fuel Marking Division (FMD) conducted more than 12,000 site visits and 36 joint operations with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) which resulted in more than 34,500 fuel samples being collected and tested.
He explained that the same amount of fuel was seized the previous year by FMD despite the conduct of fewer site visits and joint operations. “There should have been a decrease this year but persons continue to smuggle illegal fuel and we have to deal with this.”
In light of this fact, the agency continues to intensify its efforts to combat instances of smuggling.
In July last, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the GEA and GRA, to continue cooperation and collaboration in the monitoring of petroleum operations.
Under the MOU, both parties will conduct joint investigations and surveillance and utilise mutual resources to guard against the scourge of fuel smuggling activities to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations of Guyana.
The GEA is also the designated agency to lead the transitioning efforts towards greater renewable energy. One of its objectives is to have every government building using alternative sources of energy within the next five years. Budget 2018 has provision for $500M for renewable energy projects.
By: Ranetta La Fleur