An alleged scam has caused a loss of Rs. 10 million at the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal (CPSTL) on the day fuel prices were hiked, prompting Minister Arjuna Ranatunga to vow stern action after a probe.
The Government decided to increase the fuel price on 10 May at midnight, and was declared in the morning of the same day. In such a situation, same-day orders are to be cancelled temporarily. However, an initial investigation has revealed that 52 fuel bowsers from the Kolonnawa terminal and 22 fuel bowsers from the Muthurajawela terminal were released following the same-day orders.
Owing to this smuggling incident, the Kolonnawa terminal lost Rs. 6,580,200 and the Muthurajawela terminal lost Rs. 2,468,400. The investigation disclosed that some regional fuel distribution centres also released a stock of fuel following same-day orders.
“The smuggling was done following the wrong procedure. Some filling stations received a stock of fuel within the same day, which was not received for weeks. There are customers who had paid for fuel the day before the price hike, but had not received stocks, and customers who had paid and received stocks within hours,” Minister Ranatunga said, yesterday.
“We are processing the investigation to identify the offenders. We will hand over further investigations to the FCID. The smuggling has been occurring for years. I will take severe actions to stop wrongdoings. Some ministers are also trying to push us when we are trying to catch thieves,” he added.