TOMZA, ZETA GAS, and DAGAS Propane Companies Under Investigations for Price Hike Fixing Scam

Propane Companies Under Investigations for Price Hike Fixing Scam

By: Omar Silva

Three Guatemalan Propane Importers who are also registered as importers / distributors in Belize for the distribution of propane gas throughout the country and who seemingly are operating in similar method are answering to charges in Guatemala regarding unilateral price hike.

Guatemalan Authorities from the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) and the Directorate of Consumer Protection Services (Diaco) announced this week that they have filed legal action against three Propane Import Companies in Guatemala namely, TOMZA GAS, ZETA GAS, and DAGAS including fifteen (15) other propane outlets who will have to respond to charges of alleged illegal price hike fixing scam.

The Guatemalan Minister of Energy and Mines, Luis Chang, and DIACO’s Alejandro Pereira, both confirmed that they filed 10 charges at the Office of the Prosecutor because of concerted price fixing. (Similar prices that lead to monopoly).

The first accusations started following investigations regarding the constant increases in the prices of gasoline and diesel that became evident in recent weeks. After the corresponding study, the Directorate of Consumer Protection Services (DIACO) presented a damning report which led to accusations on May 21 where Criminal proceedings initiated before the Public Prosecutor (MP) against the PUMA GROUP, UNO GUATEMALA, UNO PETROL, and CHEVRON and eight other Gas Station Dealers also for Illegal Price gouging.

During their summons to the Congress of the Republic, Authorities from the Ministry of Energy and Mines confirmed administrative violations PUMA, UNO, UNO Petrol and CHEVRON and the eight Gas Station Dealers

At the same time, he warned the merchants and distributors of fuels, that any exploitation, speculation and breach of the consumer protection law, will be dealt with extreme penal consequences including other economic sanctions, which will be imposed on those found to have violated the law.

Trend will continue to rise

The MEM has sent out an analysis of the behaviour patterns of the prices of oil and petroleum products in the international and national markets.

According to the report, the price of oil continued its upward trend and remained in four of the five sessions of the previous weeks above US $ 71 per barrel.

In the week of May 14 to 18, 2018, the increase was US $ 0.71 per barrel compared to the previous week, trading at the last day of the week at US $ 71.28 per barrel.

The factors that continue to affect the price of oil are the continued fall of oil inventories in the United States, and its withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran and the strong global demand for oil.

It is obvious that here in Belize, were are at the mercy of these Importers in both Gasoline and Propane Gas and our government who is in the take for a huge chunk in taxes in fuel is knowingly allowing this type of abuse and exploitation with no regards for the Belizean consumer.