What is now apparently crystal clear is that certain Government Officials are imposing themselves on the oldest petroleum importing and marketing company, the National Petroleum Sierra Leone Limited (NP-SL Ltd) leased facilities at the Kissy Terminal in the East End of Freetown.

This imposition became vividly manifest last Saturday, 14th August 2021 when a truck full of Police Personnel stormed the Kissy Terminal during which period certain facilities belonging to NP-SL Ltd were wantonly vandalized, an action which, it was learnt, was executed based on a directive from the Inspector General of Police, Dr. Ambrose Sovula.

When this medium mounted an in-depth investigation in order to know the genesis of this recent unholy development it discovered that there is a misunderstanding between the 100% indigenous oil marketing company in Sierra Leone and the All Petroleum Products Limited (APP-SL). What again came out glaringly was that there are certain senior officials in the Ministry of Trade and Industry who, for ulterior motives ,are supporting APP-SL to the gross disadvantage of the former entity and  have therefore decided to take a prejudiced stance in favour of APP.

APP, an allegedly fictitious dealer in petroleum products, signed an MoU with the Government of Sierra Leone dated 12th July 2019 to rehabilitate and refurbish the storage tanks at the Kissy Terminal to aid sufficient storage of fuel for onward delivery in Sierra Leone.

It is noteworthy from the start to know that APP Ltd, which has no established traceable petroleum industry footprint, has done little or nothing to actualize the said project. Instead, APP Ltd, allegedly supported by powers that be, has picked up an unnecessary fight against the locally based oil marketing company.

APP approached the well-established oil marketing company, which many hold in high esteem for its effective service delivery, to allow them to pass a pipe through the latter’s lease concession which the Management generously consented to, based on a mutually outlined plan of where the said pipe would pass through the oil marketing company’s concession at the Kissy Terminal.

After the route for laying of the pipe was agreed upon, to the surprise of the Management of the locally marketing company, APP chose, on their own volition, to violate the agreement reached with the marketing company as to where the pipe should pass. When an objection was raised, APP resorted to roughneck tactics common to criminal gangs in Mexico.

A formal report was made by the Management of the locally based oil importing and marketing company to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other relevant stakeholders.

At the meetings, the oil importing and marketing company brought out its objections to APP passing their pipe through their property. The complaining company’s position is very clear in this matter. Principal among their concerns is safety.

Granting access to APP to pass their pipe through its lease area, which Ministry of Trade officials erroneously believe they are custodians of, poses grave safety risks because there is no evidence that APP has a track record of being a reputable dealer in petroleum products.

Meanwhile, APP which has never imported a gallon of fuel into the country had the temerity to block entrance into the oil importing and marketing company’s property, as well as behaving rudely to its officials; even threatening them and their workers with violence.

The million dollar question on the lips of the Management of the petroleum importing and marketing company is how can a Government, which claims to protect the property of its citizens from encroachment by fly by night investors, will again have no record of having any solid financial ability to embark on the project it signed an MoU for?

Management of the affected petroleum importing and marketing company is concerned that, within the context of the Local Content Policy whose intent and purpose is to protect and promote indigenous enterprises, the Government wants to kill the goose that lays the golden egg in terms of the thousands of direct and indirect jobs it provides for Sierra Leoneans, huge tax revenue it pays to Government and the immense social benefits it brings to the country through actualizing its Corporate Social Responsibility.

What APP apparently depends on to violate the decency and integrity of a well-known, highly reputable established Sierra Leonean owned business entity that has served the Government and people of Sierra Leone for decades, even during the war years when all so-called international companies fled the country, is alleged connections with the powers that be.

That notwithstanding, petroleum importing and marketing company remains firm that it stands on its right as a legitimate lease holder from the Government of Sierra Leone and reiterates its defiance to allow APP to pass its pipe through its area of concession or yard because APP has no known record of being a player in the petroleum industry – none whatsoever.