Lebanon Finance Ministry fines 11 gas stations over fuel fraud

Lebanon’s Finance Ministry has fined 11 gas stations over price manipulation and withholding fuel amid an ongoing crackdown on corruption in the sector.

A statement released by the ministry Monday said that investigators inspected 446 gas stations across Lebanon last week.

The heightened measures come a few weeks after several complaints were issued against companies benefiting from the recent drop in oil prices, but not passing on their savings to consumers.

Last month, Finance Minister Alain Hakim accused some companies of price manipulation in light of a global oil slump. Hakim cited reports that claimed petroleum distribution companies were refusing to provide gasoline to gas stations at the current market prices. Instead, distribution companies are demanding prices that exceed the current market value.

Following last week’s inspections, the ministry fined 11 violators, according to Monday’s statement.

Out of the 11, four were issued against stations that have abstained from distributing fuel to customers despite the availability of reserves, while seven were issued to gas stations accused of manipulating prices.

The statement called on customers to submit their complaints to the ministry’s hotline – 1739 – or through the Consumer Protection Lebanon app for smartphones.