Police to probe Sh100m oil theft at National Oil Corporation of Kenya

Nock Chief Executive Officer MaryJane Mwangi. [File, Standard]

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has launched a probe into the alleged theft of Sh100 million of products at the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock).

This after nearly 900,000 litres of oil were allegedly stolen from the corporation.

Nock Chief Executive Officer MaryJane Mwangi told MPs that at least seven senior managers had already been interdicted to pave way for an investigation into the theft.

Those suspended include an accountant, stock analyst, depot analyst, commercial manager and finance manager.

“It is true we lost our product between 2016 and 2018 and investigations are going on. But the DCI is now handling it,” said Ms Mwangi.

The CEO, who was appearing before the National Assembly Energy Committee in a session chaired by vice chairman Robert Pukose on Friday, further revealed that the theft was flagged by audit firm KPMG following scrutiny of the oil agency’s accounting books,

Nock joins the growing list of State corporations and departments that are on the radar of the DCI, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over embezzlement of taxpayers’ money.

The revelation comes even as it emerged that Nock could be on its knees financially owing to the large sums of money owed by other Government institutions.

Mwangi told the committee that the firm was owed Sh1.1 billion by key State agencies, including Kenya Ports Authority and Parliament.

“For instance, Parliament owes us Sh60 million. We have been fueling their vehicles but they are not honouring their pledges. We are already cutting links with some of the agencies because we will have problems just because we want to please others,” she said.

Mwangi also told the committee that the corporation was under-capitalised and was relying heavily on financing through borrowing to sustain its operations.

She stated that introduction of value added tax last year August as well as the depreciation of the Kenyan shillings against the US dollar, by 2.3 per cent between July-December, had led to a rise in financing costs.

“The declining margins as well as the growth in financing cost has contributed to the loss. Overall, however, the corporation is working to reverse the loss position in the second half of the current financial year,” she said.

Nock is spearheading the Mwananchi Gas Project - a subsidised LPG initiative under the Ministry of Petroleum. In the initiative, six kilogramme gas cylinders with a burner and grill, trading under the brand name 'Gas Yetu, are being distributed at a discounted price of Sh2,000 to households that would otherwise not afford them.