Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga has condemned law enforcement officers who are allegedly filling their vehicles with fuel smuggled from Angola and confiscated from illegal vendors.
“If this is true, it is not right. It is against our laws. Police officers are to protect and make sure everything is going accordingly,” stressed Ndeitunga in a telephonic interview with New Era yesterday.
These allegations surfaced after a man complained to this publication, on condition of anonymity, that two police officers confiscated two of his three 25-litre fuel containers, and fined him N$50 to keep the third container.
“I looked at them as I drove away… I saw them loading my containers in one of the private cars that were parked. If they are not taking them for personal use, why did they not confiscate all three containers from my car?” he asked.
“Yes, we were all wrong, but they are police officers. And it happens often. I know of many people complaining about the same issue,” he added.
Ndeitunga urged the public to always take evidence and report police officers breaking the law.
“Confiscated fuel is supposed to be taken to NamRA [Namibia Revenue Agency], under the ministry of finance, but not for personal use. It is not right,” he noted.
He warned not only does this illegal fuel deprive Namibia of vital income through tax and other levy evasion but it also damages the environment and the vehicles of uninformed consumers.
“Our service stations are collapsing, leading to loss of jobs,” he added.
Ndeitunga further warned Namibians to refrain from smuggling fuel from Angola.
Samuel Shivolo, a taxi driver from Oshakati, said Namibian fuel is too expensive.
“We are suffering, especially us drivers. We are just driving with no profit,” said Shivolo.
The affordable Angolan fuel is preferred over the current astronomical pump prices of N$19.10 per litre for petrol and N$20.23 per litre for diesel (Walvis Bay prices), conducted at makeshift service stations.
This is where illegal fuel sellers emerge from the bushes to offer cheaper fuel smuggled from Angola, Namibia’s oil-rich neighbour.
They sell their fuel for between N$35 and N$45 for five litres.
Between March 2021 and March 2022, the domestic petrol price increased from N$12.65 to N$17.15, while diesel increased from N$12.68 to N$17.28 per litre.
This represented an increment of N$4.50 and N$4.60 in petrol and diesel, respectively, within a period of 12 months.
In comparison to the previous years’ fuel tariffs, the fuel price increase between March 2018 and March 2019 was N$0.35 for petrol and a N$1.40 increment for diesel.
Between 2019 and 2020, the petrol price increased by N$1.00 and N$0.20 for diesel.
During the last 12 months, as the global and domestic economies struggle to recover from the impact of the pandemic, constrained supply lines and overwhelming inflation, petrol and diesel prices have increased by about 51% and 60%, respectively.