Ruto orders sacking of officials who licensed the Embakasi gas plant

President William Ruto. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

President William Ruto has ordered the sacking and prosecution of state officials who allowed the Embakasi gas plant to operate despite the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) rejecting its work permit on several occasions.

Speaking in Lugari, Kakamega County, Ruto said that the officials are "incompetent and corrupt" and thus should not be allowed to hold any office in government.

“I have asked the ministers involved to ensure that the government officials who issued licenses for gas installation in residential areas when it was very clear it was the wrong thing to do, to be dismissed and prosecuted for the crimes they have committed,” said Ruto.

His remarks come two days after a gas storage and filling plant exploded in Embakasi killing three people, leaving hundreds of others injured and homes destroyed.

According to a statement by EPRA, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant was denied a permit as it did not meet the stipulated safety distance standards.

However, despite EPRA stating several times that it could not operate, the plant was fully functional.

A statement by NEMA Board Chairperson Emilio Mugo revealed that the owners of the plant were given a go-ahead by officials from NEMA.

According to Mugo, the accused among them NEMA’s Director of Environmental Compliance and his deputy unprocedurally processed the license giving the plant the right to operate.

“After a thorough assessment of the licensing procedure and processes the Board of Management has noted with great concern some serious gaps in the issuance of the license to the LPG plant in question. Further, preliminary investigation has revealed that four NEMA officers unprocedurally processed the license and are therefore culpable,” read the statement by Mugo.

Mugo now wants the four, the Director of Environmental Compliance, Acting Deputy Compliance, Senior Environmental Officer (EIA section), and Head of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA section) to step aside from their duties to allow for further investigations.