Information has reached Shire Times that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has, yesterday, temporarily closed Mount Meru filling stations in Lilongwe from operating pending further investigations of its illegal fuel hoarding practices.
According to the source of the news, a service station supervisor told the fuel attendants at all MERU fueling stations in Lilongwe that fuel had run out and instructed them to turn off the pump machines.
Some customers who had information about the fuel being available and the illegal hoarding tactics that the station was playing, they opted to sleep in their vehicles within one of the stations.
When the morning shift supervisor and attendants came, the customers confronted them but they kept on lying that fuel had finished.
“They were so rude when we confronted them and we decided to call MERA to observe what these guys were doing,” said one of the witnesses of the event.
The contacted MERA officials arrived early in the morning, and after a long struggle to force them to release the tank keys, they lied that keys were with their boss who was away in Kasungu at the time. When this lie could not sustain itself, they keys were finally released, but afraid of being caught lying about the fuel dry out in the reserves, they advanced a lie that their tank’s minimum reserve is 20,000 liters.
This minimum capacity came out as strange to the MERA officials and demanded for log books of the station where it was discovered through their own previous logs that the tanks’ bottomage is actually 1,300 litres. Eventually, the station was forced to sell the fuel to the customers after which the MERA officials left the premises.
The MERA officers went back to the station later in evening and closed down the service station.