Ann Njeri had a moment of instant fame with alleged Sh17 billion-diesel tussle drawing her rather quiet life to the limelight.
Owing to the political twist that the issue had taken, the finer details of a court battle pitting her company- Ann’s Import and Export Enterprises Limited (Kenya) - against Galana Energies Limited, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Pipeline would have just passed by.
However, documents The Saturday Standard obtained from the courts deepen the mystery of Njeri’s claim of ownership of the consignment ferried to Mombasa Port by MT ‘Haigui.’
The wheat and chuff in the battle on who is the owner of the fuel revolves around the bill of lading, the cargo quantity, the stamps, the port of origin, whether the signatures are authentic, the loading date, and ultimately if Njeri is entitled to claim the alleged Sh17 billion load.
In her claim, Njeri said that she shipped in 100,000 metric tons of Diesel EN590 10PPM (parts per million).
Her cargo manifest and letter of entrustment both dated October 9, 2023, indicate the port of loading was Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
A port of loading (POL) refers to the port where the cargo is loaded onto the shipping vessel or container.
It is the starting point of the shipping journey and is an important factor in determining transit time and costs.
In Njeri’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) statement attached as part of a habeas corpus application filed before the same court, the vessel took 15 days from Moscow, Russia to Mombasa.
According to her, it sailed through Azerbaijan Republic, then to Turkey, Jeddah, Port of Ceyhan, and finally to Mombasa.
A bill of lading attached to Njeri’s court documents, dated October 9, 2023, indicated the origin as Azerbaijan Republic.
The documents also read that the vessel master was Dogukan Bulut.
In court affidavits, she identified herself as Ann Njoroge. Nevertheless, two of the documents she attached, authorization to board and cargo manifest, which are dated October 9, 2023, indicated the authorising signature as Anna Njoroge Njeri.
Njeri asserted that the consignment belonged to her company.
“The claimant is the owner of Motor Vessel Haigui and the consignee of the cargo Diesel EN590 on board from the port of Jeddah, SA to the port of Mombasa,” claimed Njeri.
To support her case, she provided a letter of entrustment, authorization to board, bill of lading, Intertanko -chartering questionnaire, ullage report dated October 2, 2023, and an analytical report dated the same date.
Galana Energies Limited’s reply to Njeri’s claim gave a very different story on the source of the fuel. It also cast doubts on her ownership claims and pointed out inconsistencies in her documents.
While poking holes into Njeri’s claims, Galana first indicated the shipmaster was Captain Dimitrios Stratakos. And that a shipmaster and a vessel master mean the same. The puzzle to be resolved is who between Bulut and Stratakos was in charge of Haigui.
The oil company also attached Dimitrios, who also disowned Njeri’s documents.
In court the document before High Court Judge Kizito Marage, Dimitrios stated that the ship’s stamp in Njeri’s claim was not the same as the vessel’s stamp.
Bills of lading
According to Dimitrios, the vessel was loaded at Yanbu Samref TMNL Berth number 55 on September 28, 2023, and was issued with four bills of lading.
Dimitrios said that the ship Njeri was referring to was not his. At the same time, he noted that the ship’s stamp was not the same as his vessel’s and there was a difference in cargo quantity.
The shipmaster’s signature and the loading date were not correct.
He added that the port of origin was not correct and that the documents were not signed as originals.
Galana explained that the ship was carrying 93.271 tons of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and not the 100,000 tons indicated in Njeri’s documents.
According to the oil firm, the consignment on Haigui was KG 2022/2023 (AGO).
“The assertion that the consignment on the motor vessel Haigui is diesel EN590 is patently false. Diesel EN590 is not a product specified for use in Kenya. The claimant (Njeri’s company) is not the owner of the Motor Vessel Haigui and is not the consignee of the cargo on that ship. An online search of the motor vessel Haigui shows that it is owned by Hotlen Shipping Limited Partnership and is operated by Eletson Shipmanagement Inc,” replied Galana.
It attached a certificate of origin from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia indicating that the exporter was Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery Company.
From Aramco’s loading sheet, Haigui arrived at the berth on September 25, 2023, at 2100hrs. AGO loading started on September 26, 2023, at 8.00hrs and ended at 6.55hrs. It sailed on September 28, 2023.
From Yanbu, the ship went to Jeddah anchorage on September 29, 2023, for cargo doping.
Cargo doping is a process through which additives are added to the fuel consignment. It then left the anchorage on September 30, 2023, and arrived at the Mombasa Port on October 11, 2023.
Meanwhile, Galana’s CEO Anthony Munyasya, in his supporting affidavit, explained that Aramco chartered MT Haigui from Holten.
Further, Munyasya stated that the Saudi-owned corporation obtained a certificate of quality, certificate of origin, vessel manifest, ullage report, inspection report, and bill of lading.
Galana also provided a cargo manifest of the vessel, a certificate of conformity, and an import declaration form from the Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
“MT Haigui was loaded with a consignment of 93,460 MT at the port of Yanbu Saudi Arabia on September 28, 2023, as per the bill of lading,” said Munyasya.
He claimed that Njeri’s cargo manifest and her ullage report bear two different dates when they ought to be the same. The manifest is dated October 9, 2023, while the ullage is dated October 2, 2023.
Munyasya observed that if one took Njeri’s manifest date, October 9, and the date of the vessel’s arrival- October 11, 2023, one would conclude that she was creating a sail impossibility.
“MT Haigui bearing the consignment shipped by Aramco arrived at the port of Mombasa on October 11, 2023. A ship can’t have loaded at the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to have arrived at the port of Mombasa two days later.”
He also argued that Njeri had not demonstrated ownership of MT Haigui, that she had authority from the Energy Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), and that her company owned the consignment in MT Haigui.
The court heard that Kenya does not use Diesel EN590 as it is not among the standards provided for by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
Galana’s CEO said that she did not produce finance facilities and insurance documents to back her purchase claim.
At the same time, the court heard that Njeri did not also provide an EPRA license, which is the authority to do petroleum business in Kenya. Outside court, the woman said she was not aware that one was required.
He asserted that Ann’s Import and Export Enterprises Limited (Kenya) did not and was not eligible to participate in the open tendering system.
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) backed Galana’s consignment under the government-to-government oil deal.
“To finance this consignment, Galana entered into a tripartite agreement involving the Kenya Pipeline Company and Kenya Commercial Bank which issued a letter of credit. The consignment is part of the supply required to meet the country’s fuel requirements and has been allocated to various oil marketing companies who are off-takers,” argued Galana.