Exclusive: Top executives from 11 oil marketing companies questioned by DCI

A pump attendant fuels a car at the Rubis Petrol Station along Koinange Street, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Government has made good its threat to hold oil marketers accountable for the current fuel shortage that has caused major disruptions in the transport and logistics sectors.

 The Standard has confirmed that for the better part of Friday, April 15, top executives from over ten oil marketing companies were questioned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Economic Crimes Unit.

The ongoing fuel shortage was initially thought to have been sparked by a delay in the remission of funds to oil marketers.

On Thursday, April 14, Monica Juma, Energy, and Acting Petroleum CS said the government currently owes oil marketing companies Sh14.52 billion under the fuel stabilization kitty and had paid out Sh34.64 billion in fuel subsidy since April 2021.   

Eleven oil marketers

The top executives are from the following oil marketers:

  1. Total Energies
  2. Gapco
  3. Hass Petroleum
  4. Lexo Energy
  5. OLA
  6. Riva Petroleum
  7. Vivo Energy
  8. Galana Oil Kenya
  9. Lake Oil
  10. Petro Oil
  11. Rubis Energy

The executives from the eleven oil companies spent close to five hours at the DCI headquarters in Kiambu as the economic crimes unit sought answers as to their culpability.  

One of the executives who was questioned has told The Standard that they were asked to answer whether any of the companies or their competitors had hoarded fuel during the period with the intent of reaping higher price gains head of the upward review of fuel prices.

In its latest price review, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) increased prices across board by Sh9.90.  

Was fuel sold to the export market?

The Economic crimes unit also sought to know whether the oil marketers had prioritised the sale of fuel to export markets at the expense of the local market.

In her address on Thursday, Juma accused oil marketers of economic sabotage by diverting cargo earmarked for local use for export into the region to further enhance what she described as “abnormal profits”.

The oil marketers also had to answer what could have gone wrong within the fuel chain that has led to the current crisis.

Further queries were made regarding the role of key government institutions within the fuel supply chain including industry regulator EPRA and the Kenya Pipeline which acts both as a storage facility and transporter of fuel through its vast pipeline network.  

Under the law, the marketers are required to maintain a minimum stock of petrol to last 20 days and diesel to last 25 days. This is supposed to shield the country from supply disruptions. 

What the law says

The Energy (minimum operational stock) Regulations 2008 outline that: any person who contravenes the provisions of these regulations commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding two million shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both. 

The government has said companies that prioritised the local market will be rewarded by being allocated more import capacity while those who sold more across the borders having reduced quotas. ​ 

None of the company representatives were arrested or detained. DCI is expected to guide on the next course of action by Tuesday, April 19.