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Chief suspect in Sh 450 million oil products theft charged

By Willis Oketch | July 14th 2015
Gordon Muriuki Ngatia at the Mombasa Court in Mombasa County on Monday 13th July 2014 where he pleaded not guilty to 36 accounts of buying Lubricants from Vivo Energy Kenya Valued at Ksh 450 million. The court released him on Sh1 million bond. [Photo/Kelvin Karani/STANDARD]

A Nairobi businessman who police allege has evaded arrest for years after being linked to the theft of petroleum products valued at Sh450 million belonging to Vivo Energy has been arrested and charged in Mombasa.

Police claim Gordon Muriuki Ngatia is the principal suspect in the alleged theft of assorted lubricants and say he was arrested in Nairobi recently and charged with stealing the cargo in a span of four years.

Muriuki, who denied the charges before Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate David Karani, was released on a bond of Sh1 million with a similar surety.

He has been on the run after a warrant was issued against him in February this year, and investigating officers have been on the case since 2013.

Before the warrant of arrest was issued, he had successfully applied in a Nairobi court in 2014 to stop the police from arresting him after he was linked to the theft.

denied charges

The application was dismissed in February by a Nairobi court, which also ordered that he be arrested and charged with the offence.

Others who have already been charged with the same offence are Fredrick Ochieng Otieno, Zuberi Musa Raloo, Joseph Kirima, Robert Kibet, David Kasina, Victor Kiptoo Ngeno, Benard Kilonzo and Japheth Omboko.

Ochieng is among three employees of the company linked to the theft of the petroleum products.

The accused have all denied the charges and are out on a bond of Sh1 million with similar sureties.

They have denied allegations that on diverse dates between October 2010 and December 2013, they stole assorted lubricants worth Sh450 million, the property of Vivo Energy while on transit from the company's Mombasa depot to Nairobi depot.

The prosecution did not oppose the release of the suspect on bail because investigations have been completed.

Muriuki is accused of buying the imported cargo from the other suspects, who included the driver of the trailer and watchmen.

The items were allegedly being transported to Vivo depot in Nairobi in a vehicle registration number KBD 946F and ZC 0954 trailer.

The magistrate ordered that the case be heard on August 7.

Last year, a Mombasa court also ordered police to seize two guns from two Vivo Energy Kenya managers allegedly involved in the theft of the transit goods.

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