Bolivia announces new law to curb fuel smuggling

16:06, April 06, 2011      

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Bolivia said Tuesday it would implement a new law to prevent illegal trade, especially the smuggling of government-subsidized fuel products, and improve border security.

"Smuggling and other illegal trade have caused a lot of internal and external problems in our border regions. This law will allow the state to address the problems with the necessary mechanisms which will give security to people living in border areas," Deputy Minister for Government Coordination Wilfredo Chavez told reporters.

Under the new law, fuel smugglers found within 50 km of the borders will have their goods confiscated and could receive strict fines or even a prison sentence if they are found to have violated the law, Chavez said.

The Bolivian government has spent heavily in keeping fuel prices low, which amounts to an estimated 380 million U.S. dollars per year.

"The storage, trade and purchase of diesel and liquid gas will be penalized, and those found in violation of this law will be given prison sentences from three to six years," Chavez said.

He said people discovered receiving or buying illegally obtained fuel products may receive a prison sentence of two to four years, while public servants and government officials found to be involved in illegal fuel business will face five to ten years in prison.

A new National Council for Border Security and Development will be set up to lead the effort and take primary charge of implementing the law, while the Agency for the Development of Macro-regions and Borders (ADEMAF), which is currently in charge of border control, will assume the remaining responsibilities.

Source: Xinhua
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