Kenya: EPRA Declines to Withdraw Case on Illegal Gas Refilling

28 January 2020

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has rejected a request to withdraw charges against four people accused of refilling gas cylinders without the consent of the brand owners.

In response to the request by Talib Zein Salimin and three others, EPRA Director-General Pavel Oimeke said they will press on with the charges.

He said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) are also opposed to the request and it is their view that the matter should be handled "with the seriousness it deserves and the accused preferred charges accordingly".

FOUR COUNTS

Mr Salimin, the proprietor of Swift Energy Distributors in Mavoko, Machakos County, was arrested on November 29, 2019 and charged together with Musa Abdullahi Ali, Daniel Gichuhi Wachira and Evanson Gitau Kinuthia.

They denied four counts including refilling of liquefied petroleum gas cylinders of another licensee without written consent from the brand owner.

The court heard that they were refilling brands such as Pro-Gas, which belongs to Proto Energy, Total Gas, which belongs to Total Kenya, K-Gas (Kenol-Kobil) and Afri-Gas (Vivo Energy).

RECORDS

They were also accused of failing to maintain records as required by the Petroleum (LPG) Regulations of 2019.

They denied the charges and were freed on bond by a Mavoko court.

But later, the accused sought to know whether the regulator wished to withdraw the charges and instead, substitute the offence with enforcement actions.

But Mr Oimeke said in a letter dated January 24, 2020 that the suspects had on several occasions been found refilling the gas, against the law and the regulations.

"The Authority is also aware that such major offences constitute breach of terms and conditions of the licence issued to the accused and the Petroleum Act, 2019.

The Authority, therefore, has no intention of withdrawing the above subject case," he said in the letter copied to the DPP and DCI.

The regulator also accused Mr Salimi, the director of the plant in Mlolongo, of transporting the gas cylinders without the required licence.

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