Merchant who sell adulterated gasoline will lose fuel


Source: SPTV, O Globo Online, 13/07/2007

SAO PAULO - As of this Friday, the trader who is caught selling adulterated gasoline will lose all the fuel that is in the tanks. The new law, announced by Governor José Serra, forces the owner of the station to stop selling baptized gasoline if by chance he illegally reopens the establishment. The penalty will be applied by Procon and the seized product will be incorporated into the state's assets. Another law increases the tax for the solvent, which, according to the governor, should discourage fraud.

- The solvent used in fraud today pays a lower tax than gasoline. This is an incentive to do the fraud. Now, it will have the same tax as gasoline, so it removes the economic incentive that encourages fraud. Inspection will be intensified because it has a legal basis and more punishment instrument - said Serra.

The laws sanctioned by the São Paulo government were approved by the Legislative Assembly in mid-June. The new law also provides for the application of a fine. Irregular solvent operations will be treated as if they were automotive gasoline operations and will be subject to a 200% fine, without prejudice to the requirement for the payment of ICMS and the cancellation of taxpayer registration by the Treasury Department.

In the first half of 2007, the government of São Paulo canceled the state registration of 117 gas stations across the state. Since April 12, 2005, 401 gas stations have been withdrawn from state registrations. On average, 200 establishments are inspected per month in the state, according to the government. Through the “De Olho na Bomba” operation, the Tax Authorities also selected and notified a list of 307 reseller stations to provide detailed documentation in order to renew the state registration. Of this total, 76 state registrations were canceled due to not meeting the necessary prerequisites for re-registration. At the end of May 2007, the government revoked state registration and sealed 42 gas stations in the capital.

- The new laws will help to give more strength to Procon, which will have more power to intervene in favor of the consumer. In addition, it brings the loss of the goods, that is, the adulterated fuel does not remain with the owner of the service station. It comes to the government, which will process it and turn it into good fuel for use in a police car - said Serra.

According to José Mário Barbuto, public prosecutor, the law will give great strength to inspection because it allows for the confiscation of adulterated fuel.

- There are already laws that provide for the crime of adulteration of fuels that have been used by the police and the Public Ministry. It turns out that the criminal process has a slower pace than that of administrative supervision. In criminal proceedings, responsibility must be personal and individualized. Therefore, the investigation takes longer - he said.

According to Barbuto, there are numerous complaints and many people have been convicted. The problem is that the penalty for this crime is imprisonment for 1 to 5 years, which means that even in cases of conviction, the penalty applied is replaced by an alternative sentence and the criminal does not even go to jail.