Sep 30, 2017 News
A senior Berbice police rank is in custody following a sting operation Thursday into stolen
Investigators are also looking for an ex-Tactical Service Unit (TSU) rank of the Guyana Police Force who would have played a role.
The fuel marker was reportedly pilfered from the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) over a period of time. This action is being blamed for the loss of tens of millions of dollars in taxes for the state.
GEA is that regulator in Guyana that monitors the operations of gas stations, fuel importations and licensing.
Fuel markers are used on imported fuel to indicate that taxes are paid. The markers are supposed to be closely guarded by GEA at its Quamina Street, Georgetown head office, but there have been reports of quantities being stolen over time.
GEA is supplied markers by Authentix Inc., a Dallas, Texas company. It had been supplying GEA since 2003. The markers are supposed to combat counterfeiting, protect brand equity, and assure programme integrity when it is mixed with imported fuel and other products.
With regards to the arrest, officials disclosed that they were investigating the fuel markers being on the streets for some time now.
Recently, the ex-TSU cop contacted a buyer, offering to sell 1,000 milliliters (a litre) of the markers for $1,700 for each ML. This works out to $1.7M.
However, the Major Crimes Unit, of the Guyana Police Force received wind of the deal.
Together with GEA officials, the investigators on Thursday staked out the seawall area where they saw an occupant of a white Toyota Premio hand over something to the ex-TSU rank.
It was a sample. The ‘buyer’, satisfied that the sample was real, asked to buy some– over 700ML.
The buyer was asked to meet on Church Street.
Police stopped the car and during a search found no marker. However, there was a high smell of the chemical in the car.
The occupant in the vehicle was identified as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), stationed in Berbice.
It was reported that the ex-TSU rank had already collected the marker. However, investigators were unable to get their hands on him. The ASP was arrested and taken to Brickdam.
He will also be in trouble for not seeking permission from the ‘B’ Division commander to leave the area.
It has long since been reported that small quantities of GEA’s marker have been making their way onto the streets where gas stations and fuel importers were using them.
There has also been a reported case of GEA personnel under-marking fuel but little was done at the level of the agency to tackle the problem.
Fuel importation uses a significant part of the country’s revenues.
Currently, every shipment has to pay up to 50 percent of the value in taxes. Smugglers have been chalking up millions of dollars, selling to mainly miners and loggers and hinterland residents.
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