By Tabora Bojang
Businessman Dekorey Ceesay of Brufut, who was recently hit with a fine of D300,000.00 by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for allegedly building a petrol station without permit, has protested against the decision, describing it as ‘unfair and misleading’.
PURA in a press release said following an application to their office for a petroleum retail, Dekorey Ceesay was informed that his application was disapproved by the Minister for Petroleum and Energy.
“Having weighed in the totality of facts surrounding this issue, the authority has carried out an enforcement action against Ceesay to pay a fine of D300,000 for constructing a fuel station in Brufut without the required permit from the authority,” PURA said.
But according to Mr Ceesay, PURA’ s statement is misleading because that ministry has nothing to do with the matter at hand.
“The license for petroleum products and that of petrol stations are different,” he said.
In a long letter responding to PURA, Dekorey accused the Authority, the National Roads Authority and the National Environment Agency of bias.
He argued that the three institutions connived to give a misleading statement. “They said my petrol station, which is 32 meters from the center of the road, is very close to the road when in actual fact, several petrol stations such as Atlas among others are just 28 meters from the center of the same road,” he argued. Mr Ceesay showed a copy of a sworn affidavit testifying that several petrol stations on the same road are less than 30 meters from the center of road.
”How can you allow other petrol stations, which are closer to the center of the road than mine, and deny me on a flimsy reason that mine is close to the road? Is that not discrimination?” Mr Ceesay asked.
He further revealed with some documents, approvals from the Gambia Fire, Rescue and Ambulances Service, Fisheries as well as his official building permit, all of which have been acquired through official requests after surveying his petrol station’s location.
“I did not cut any corners. I obtained all by papers from official sources. The decision taken by PURA basing it on NEA or NRA’s claim that my station is within the 30-meter distance from the center of the road is baseless and should be revised because there are several already built and on-going construction of petrol stations which are all about only 28 meters from the center of the road,” Ceesay argued.
In the letter, which was copied to the Secretary General, Dekorey Ceesay advised the SG not to be misled by these regulatory bodies which he accused of bias and discrimination. He called on the SG to investigate PURA’s “unfair and baseless accusation and rejection of my legitimate business operation”.