NAIROBI, KENYA: The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority has interdicted Pavel Oimeke as the Director-General of the body paving way for the appointment of Daniel Kiptoo Bargoria in an acting capacity.
Oimeke has been accused of bribery in an incident that led to his arrest on Thursday by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). He was held in custody and later released on police bond, as the agency concludes the investigation.
In a statement, the board said upon taking into account the official communication from EACC as well as the pertinent facts interdicts Oimeke as the Director-General and on a recommendation by Energy CS Charles Keter appoint acting Director-General Daniel Bargoria with immediate effect.
Before his appointment, Kiptoo was legal advisor to the Ministry of Energy and State Department of Petroleum and is the chairman of the government’s first oil committee.
Pavel Oimeke was arrested for soliciting a Sh200,000 bribe to approve the opening of a petrol station.
According to a statement by EACC, a filling station in Oyugis had previously been closed after being fined in a case involving possessing super export petrol. After paying Sh309,842 to KRA, and later issuing a clearance letter; the station opted to go through the EPRA DG to get authorisation for reopening.
EPRA intentionally delayed releasing the authorisation prompting the staff from the filling station to visit the regulatory body and initiate communication. They would exchange numbers and conversation would continue over the phone.
On Thursday, December 10, the complainant reported the case to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Later in the day, undercover investigators accompanied the complainant to EPRA headquarters with the demanded Sh200,000.
“After a while, the complainant handed over the Sh200,000 at Mr. Oimeke’s office consequently the approval letter was issued to him after the bribe,” read the statement by EACC.
Oimeka has been in office since 2017 with his tenure ending on August 1, 2020. The same month, the High Court blocked the renewal of Oimeka’s tenure—a decision that was being contemplated by the EPRA board and Energy and Petroleum and Mining Ministry.
Through the court case filed by Emmanuel Wanjala through his lawyer Henry Kariuki, the petitioner mentioned that the regulatory body had been experiencing massive losses due to spillages, corruption, installation of faulty meters and the dismissal of employees who faulted the wrongdoing of the management.
Wanjala also accused the EPRA Director-General of misuse of public funds and called the EACC to investigate his claims.
The incoming acting Director-General Kiptoo holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi and a Masters Degree in Petroleum Law and Policy from the University of Dundee, in Scotland.