NOC condemns threats by ‘smuggling gangs’ against Brega chairman Imad Benkoura
The board of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) has condemned in the strongest terms threats by armed militia in Tripoli against Brega Petroleum Marketing Company (BPMC) chairman Imad Benkoura.
Tripoli militia threatened Mr Benkoura in an attempt to force him to review the decision to disband the Fuel and Gas Distribution Follow-up Office, headed by employee Milad Abdullah al-Hajrasi, who is under investigation for establishing a ‘ghost committee’ called the Fuel and Gas Crisis committee, and illegitimately using the logo of the Brega Petroleum Marketing Company.
The aforementioned committee was actually a front for fuel smuggling gangs that has repeatedly and falsely claimed credit for others anti-smuggling efforts - publishing false news on its Facebook page. NOC has lodged a complaint with the office of the Attorney General in this regard.
It should be noted that the President of the Government of National Salvation had assigned the task of monitoring activities in fuel stations to Milad Abdullah al-Hajrasi on May 5, 2015 in order to address overcrowding problems and end the crisis in the capital at that time. There was no formal resolution on the formation and restructuring of the so-called Fuel and Gas Crisis Committee.
NOC stresses that it has established several committees operating under its supervision that are in charge of monitoring smuggling activities, developing solutions to fight smuggling and gathering evidence to present to the Attorney General, the United Nations, and the International Community - significantly contributing to the fight against smuggling. The non-existent Fuel and Gas Crisis Committee did not provide the aforementioned bodies with any data or information.
Mr Benkoura was appointed by the NOC board to his current role for his outstanding work as head of the fuel stations follow-up committee, which has worked to halt the supply of fuel to so-called ‘ghost stations’ in western Libya – illegal or non-existent stations which receive fuel allocations that are then diverted to smuggling gangs.
In this regard, NOC calls on national and international bodies to ensure officials and employees of NOC and its operating companies are protected from illegal and arbitrary arrest and harassment. It also calls for the non-intervention in its decisions and operations, in compliance with the principles of the rule of law and their preservation.