Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanker drivers, who lift LPG from the Takoradi Harbour in the Western Region of the Republic of Ghana, are accusing police personnel at the Biriwa and Nchaban police barriers in the Central and Western Regions of extortion.
This development, they explained is causing them pain and stress.
According to the drivers, the police officers at the barriers are supposed to only check their road worthy certificate, income tax stickers and waybill covering the products.
However, they alleged that the police officers now demand Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF) receipt which they explained are only needed when they are transporting products to the northern part of the country.
The drivers alleged that when they fail to produce the UPPF receipt, the officers would detain their truck and demand between GHc200 and GHc500 before they would be released.
On Saturday, July 11, 2020, two fully loaded LPG tankers with registration numbers GN-2706-12 and GN-1228-16 driven by Ganiyu Yussif and Eric Martey from Takoradi and on their way to Accra were stopped at the Biriwa Police Barrier and detained.
Ganiyu Yusif told energynewsafrica.com that he and his colleague were asked to cough GHc 1000 each before they would be released.
It took the intervention of Shafiu Mohammed, who is the Chairman of the Gas Tanker Drivers Union, to call a senior police officer to order the officers to release the trucks.
Mr Shafiu told energynewsafrica.com that they are not happy about the frustration their members have been going through in the hands of the police officers at the Biriwa and Nchaban barriers and would, therefore, stop conveying LPG from the Takoradi Harbour and Atuabo Gas for consumers in Accra and other cities.
He explained that the police are not to inspect the UPPF receipt.
In his view, the only way their members could save themselves from the embarrassment is to stop going to Western Region for LPG.
Speaking to energynewsafrica.com, Samuel Asare -Bediako, who is the Coordinator of the Unified Petroleum Price Fund at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), however, disputed the claims by the drivers that the police officers are not supposed to inspect the UPPF receipt.
He explained that previously, the UPPF receipt was generated manually and due to the volume of work at that time, it was restricted to only Bulk Road Vehicles consigned to Tamale, Bolga, etc.
He said the UPPF document is now electronically generated, adding it has been extended to cover every part of Ghana.
The UPPF document shows the destination of the product. Additionally, when the product gets to its designated destination, officials of Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) attest by appending their signatures to prove that the product has reached its destination.
Mr Asare-Bediako told energynewsafrica.com that his outfit had been notified of the extortion by the police and promised to follow up.
He, however, urged the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to do well to generate the UPPF document for the drivers to avoid the frustration they have been going through.
When contacted, the Central Regional Police Commander, DCOP Paul Manly Awuni, who was not aware of the development, assured the tanker drivers of commissioning an investigation into the allegation of extortion.