Felix Mensah Nii Annang-La, the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, on Monday went on an unannounced scout at landing beaches in the metropolis to ascertain whether premix fuel committees are hoarding and selling the commodity at cut-throat prices to fishers.
The surprise tour caught members of the Landing Beach Committees off-guard and revealed that some 90 drums of premix fuel were tucked away at the Tema Harbour in a manner suggestive of hoarding.
Police personnel and members of the Metropolitan Guard who went with the MCE on the tour wanted to arrest suspects, but were dissuaded by claims that the fuel was not being hoarded.
According to the Chairman of Tema Canoe Fishermen Association, Adjierteh Quaye, the MCE was misinformed by whoever alleged that they were hoarding fuel, and that the 90 drums of premix that was tucked away belonged to some fishermen.
According to him, the fishermen to whom the fuel belonged had stockpiled the premix for long fishing journeys. None of the people who accompanied the MCE on the surprise tour believed a word Mr Adjierteh Quaye said.
However, Archibald Ashitey Tetteh, Member of the premix committee at the Tema Landing Beach also claimed that drums of premix that were being stored at various filling stations belonged to fishermen who kept them at the stations for security against theft as well.
According to him, when fishermen were left to keep their own premix, they had the premix stolen, and so out of the desire to ensure the security of the fuel, such fishermen kept it at the premix committee filling stations, where they were not accessible to thieves.
A canoe fisherman called Alex Ampofo, alias Agboga, was the third voice of denial which convinced the team to stand down any intended arrests.
He explained that the method of distributing premix remained the same over the years, but that shortages being experienced by fishers was due to inadequate supply by government.
Nii Mensah Annang-La, warned the committee members to be wary because he had his eyes on their every step and would not hesitate at all to arrest and prosecute people who hoard premix fuel.
According to him, even though government was faithfully supplying premix, fishers kept complaining that the fuel did not reach them. “The complaints are unduly making this government unpopular,” he said.
Available intelligence suggests that the premix is hoarded by the premix fuel committee members and sold at cut throat prices to fishers. Originally, a drum is supposed to be sold at GH¢ 520, but because of the hoarding, a drum was selling for GH¢ 1,200.00 on the black market.
He said President Akufo-Addo had asked him to ensure that the ‘kalabule’ in premix fuel distribution was stopped and he would do everything in his power to ensure that those behind it were brought to book.
The MCE issued a fiat for the 90 drums to be sold to the fishermen as quickly as possible.
Ordinary fishermen who thronged around the MCE praised his proactive approach and pleaded with him to conduct periodic swoops to stop the canker of premix hoarding.
After mobbing him, the fishers at the Tema Harbour took selfies with their Chief Executive and sent him off with ‘dzama’ songs.
Mr Samuel Abbey, No Weapon Canoe owner said “I suffered before getting one drum of premix fuel yesterday, throughout history, no MCE of Tema has demonstrated this kind of love for fishermen before, he is the best so far”.
Accompanying the MCE at the programme were; Frank Asante, Public Relations Officer for the Assembly, Mr James Sutherland, Aide to the MCE, Metropolitan Engineer of the Assembly and Mr Stephen Ashitey Adjei, popularly known as Moshake. -GNA