Petrol boss to face Federal Court

By Jamie Brown BALLINA petrol boss, Santo Pennisi will face a Federal Court judge in Brisbane next month.

He and his company, Dojoo Pty Ltd, trading as Ballina Petroleum Distributors, are charged with making false representations about quality and composition of fuel sold locally at 12 BP service stations.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission initiated the criminal proceedings and the case is listed for mention on October 12.

The ACCC alleges Dojoo caused two million litres of unleaded petrol to be delivered to its various service stations and placed in tanks containing Premium, Ultimate and lead-replacement petrol. This took place between September 14, 2004, and June 22, 2007.

The ACCC alleges that, as a result of mixing unleaded with Premium and Ultimate, the fuel sold often had a lower octane rating than represented.

The commission also alleges that as a result of mixing unleaded with lead replacement that fuel no longer had attributes associated with its brand name, and that Mr Pennisi was 'knowingly concerned' in the company's conduct. Mr Pennisi previously stated he would not comment on ACCC's proceedings until that matter concluded.

Back in early July BP Australia announced an investigation in Ballina Petroleum, based on the alleged scam. Since that time the BP has severed its ties with the Ballina company, appointing Reliance Petroleum to oversee fuel delivery and management at all of Ballina Petroleum's service stations.

However, Ballina Petroleum earlier admitted to cheating customers out of approximately $150,000, and in an apparent bid to regain customer trust donated $200,000 to Southern Cross Lads Inc.

In response to the alleged scam a large number of consumers have joined forces to stage a class action suit against Ballina Petroleum.

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