By Hileni Nembwaya
THE smuggling of fuel from Angola by motorists is still going on unabated at the border town of Oshikango despite numerous warnings against such dealings by the police.
The practice is driven by fuel prices in Angola which are cheaper compared to what is charged in Namibia.
Ohangwena police spokesperson, Abner Iitumba in an interview with Confidente said citizens from both countries were involved in the illegal trading of fuel at Oshikango.
“The Angolan nationals are working together with Namibians. They smuggle the fuel into the country and hide it in their homes and it is very dangerous. We have tried to talk to them, sometimes we even arrested them but they still go back and conduct their illegal business as usual,” said Iitumba.
Iitumba furthermore noted that the situation is under control at the moment because most of the settlements where the illegal sale of fuel is rampant are submerged in water and are hardly accessible.
He said so far no arrests have been made as the police are only allowed to arrest those found in possession of more than 200 litres.
“Those that are committing this crime, be it police officers or civilians, will be charged accordingly. We confiscate the containers and auction them off to the public as cleaning materials. However, we only arrest those found smuggling fuel in large quantities, while those with small quantities, we issue them with a warning only,” explained Iitumba.
The petrol smuggled from Angola is sold cheaply; at times a 25-litre container which will go for more than N$600 under normal circumstances goes for N$250 to N$350 per container.
These prices have resulted in customers snubbing the Namibian petrol stations for the Angolan stations across the border; and forcing some to smuggle fuel back into the country for resale.
During a tour at Okatwitwi informal settlement were large quantities of fuel is smuggled, a businessman who did not want to be named confirmed selling the fuel to mostly taxi drivers at a much cheaper price.
“My dear, business is business and I am into this kind of business for survival. I am making money and the money is good. It is tough to survive with no money. My clients are mostly taxi drivers from Oshikango and surrounding towns but sometimes taxi drivers from far away towns like Oshakati and Ondangwa drive all the way here just to fill up their vehicles,” said the businessman who opted to remain anonymous.
Iitumba urged all fuel merchant to refrain from illegal activities as they also pose a danger to their communities.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015