Dar es Salaam. Police in Dar es Salaam on Monday, June 29, 2020, arrested three top oil executives for questioning as authorities alleged foul play over fuel supply.
The police from the directorate of criminal investigations picked the officials from a consultative meeting between oil marketers and Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (Ewura) in Dar es Salaam.
The officials were arrested at 1630Hrs at the LAPF towers in Kijitonyama Dar es Salaam where the Ewura offices are located.
Tanzania Oil Marketers Association executive director Raphael Mgaya told The Citizen today, June 30, 2020, that the executives who spent the night in police custody were yet to be released.
“The arrested officials have been taken to the police headquarters this morning and we are still waiting here to know their fate,” said Mr Mgaya
Those arrested were Total Tanzania’s managing director Jean-Francois Schoepp, Puma Supply Manager Adam Eliewinga and Oryx’s representative August Dominick.
They were picked while attending a consultative meeting between Ewura and the petroleum marketing companies on Monday evening to reportedly resolve some fuel supply chain challenges.
The police, however, missed Lake Oil’s Ally Awadh and Star Oil’s Vinod Vijayan executives who was not in the meeting by the time and reports indicate they were being sought.
The regulator is accusing oil marketing companies of disrupting the distribution of petroleum products in the country over pricing and in the process causing artificial shortages.
It says some operators were hoarding petroleum at a time when prices have gone down. Neither the companies nor their association have spoken out on the matter.
Last week Ewura announced its intention to revoke the licences of five fuel marketing companies over similar allegations.
The firms are Moil, Olympic Petroleum and three petroleum filling stations operators B.O Five Ways Petroleum Stations of Bagamoyo, Mexon Energy Limited of Makambako and Mexon Energy of Njombe Urban.
But on Monday, Mansour Oil Industries Limited (Moil) issued a public apology over the accusations and agreed to pay a fine of Sh10 million slapped by Ewura.
Ewura's Godfrey Chibulunje warned on Monday the agency will not hesitate to withdraw the licence of operators who flouted rules.
He also said the agency will develop new rules requiring all petroleum outlets to have contracts with their suppliers.
Prices of petroleum products have dropped significantly in the recent past on the backdrop of declining global crude oil prices occasioned by a reduction in demand as industrial output in major economies remain low due to the Covid-19 pandemic lock- downs.
Early this month Ewura cut petrol and diesel prices by 18.65 per cent and 16.25 per cent respectively. During the month of June, Dar es Salaam motorists paid Sh1,520 for a litre of petrol and Sh1,546 for a litre of diesel, the lowest in 10 years.