Who are they? Search on for owners of deadly gas plant

Razed trucks and gas containers at the ill-fated firm located in Mradi area, Embakasi, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard] 

Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) General Manager Wanjiku Manyara on February 2, 2014, claimed that the proprietor of the facility and some of his clients were charged at Milimani Court under Criminal Case E3776 of 2020.

Wanjiku in her Friday statement, however, just as the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) Director General Daniel Kiptoo, failed to tell Kenyans who were the people charged before the court.

On Saturday, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) came close by naming the companies that sought an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) clearance.

But one of the names provided does not exist.

The Standard on Sunday does not impute any wrongdoing on any person named in this story.

However, it dug further from the statements released by authorities to sieve the truths and half-truths by fact-checking the state agencies from available government official records.

Nevertheless, the charges were on November 9, 2020, said Wanjiku.

A search of the case number on the judiciary’s case management system corroborates her statement as the charge sheet was uploaded on the same date at 12.11.38 pm.

The Sunday Standard can reveal that the persons who were parties under the same criminal case number are Derick Kimathi, Elly Otieno Khwikha, Francis Kinoti Muthee and Adan Hassan Mohamed.

The first accused was Kimathi, Otieno, second, Hassan was third while Kinoti was fourth. This is according to a court order in our possession.

The four took a plea before Magistrate Jane Kamau. The system indicates that Hassan and Otieno, deposited Sh 100,000 each at 5.11.50 pm while Kimathi deposited the same amount two days later at 2pm. Kinoti did so on November 12, 2020.

The case type indicates that the charges involved offences against the Energy Act and an example given is the use of unauthorized, fraudulent, or improper supply or use of electrical energy.

The magistrate Ben Mark Ekhubi delivered his judgment on February 28, last year while sentencing was done on May 18.

Kimathi paid Sh500,000 fine as he deposited Sh400,000 on the same day of sentencing at 3 pm to top up to the Sh100,000 he had initially deposited as cash bail.

A law firm paid Sh400,000 twice on the same day as Kimathi paid his. The first amount was paid at 14.59 pm and 15.16 pm. Presumably, the law firm was paying the fine on behalf of its clients.

The system indicates that the file was closed on July 6, last year.  

What Wanjiku does not tell the public is that the State did not seek a review of the orders and did not appeal against the lower court’s verdict, meaning that the complainants in the case were satisfied with what the court had decreed.

Senior Principal Magistrate Ekhumbi on July 6 ordered that two vehicles and two trailers - KAY 055E, KBM 872F, ZE 0458 AND ZC 1286 be released to Kimathi upon proof of ownership.

At the same time, he ordered that a KBW 553C be released to Hassan upon proof of ownership.

Further, he directed that the gas cylinders be released to the respective brand owners, through the investigating officers and EPRA and in liaison with PIEA.

" The LPG stored at Proto Energy Limited be released to the first accused/convictee (Kimathi)," the order by Ekhumbi, dated July 6, 2023, reads in part.

In the meantime, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) Saturday released the names of the companies that had applied for the installation of 10 metric tons of LPG storage at the ill-fated site.

Nema chairman’s statement indicated that on July 29, 2020, the project proponent was Derdols Petroleum and was under the business name Maxxis Nairobi Energy.

A search conducted by The Sunday Standard on the two names indicated that Derdols’s first shareholder is Derick Kimathi who owns 99 ordinary shares.

Moreover, the firm is also owned by Derdols Tech Services Limited which owns one share.

The company was incorporated on June 17, 2006, and is worth 100 shares in value. Each share is estimated to cost Sh20 each.

Derdols Tech on the other hand is owned by the same man.  Information from the registrar of companies indicates that it was registered on April 23, 2004, and the nominal share capital was 50,000.  The postal addresses of both companies are the same.

The mobile number indicated in the search document was Saturday switched off.

His lawyer Wandugi Karathe in a short statement sent to court reporters through WhatsApp said that he was the lessee of the property in Embakasi where the tragic gas explosion took place on Thursday.

“Like most concerned Kenyans, my client is very keen to have a full and comprehensive investigation undertaken by the police and the relevant authorities to establish what caused the explosion. In the meantime, my client wishes to refute at this time, all the incorrect allegations which have been aired by the media tacitly pointing at him as the person responsible for the unfortunate incident,” said Karathe.  

He added that his client is willing to cooperate with the police and regrets the incident.

Nevertheless, a search of the name Maxxis Energy Nairobi indicates that it does not exist or simply says, it is not a registered business name.

However, the statement by Nema may contain half-truths about the Maxxis. A search of the company registry of the name Maxxis shows an almost similar company called Maxxis Green Energy Limited.

The shareholders of Maxxis Green Energy Limited are Adan Hassan Mohamed, which is similar to the name that we found in the judiciary system in E3776 of 2020.

In the search, it is indicated that Adan Hassan Mohamed owns 500 ordinary shares in Maxxis Green.

The Sunday Standard called the number provided as part of the company’s details for further verification and reply but it was also switched off. A visit of the physical address provided did not also bear fruits.

Maxxis Green was incorporated on November 8, 2019.

Sunday Standard also sought to know from Nema if Maxis Energy Nairobi was the factual name on its records.

Its Public Relations Officer Evans Nyabuto said the name was given by the technical team.

“Why can’t you go by our statement? …What we need to do Muthoni… because what was brought from the statement is exactly from our records. The proponent is Derdols and they are operating a business name or they applied using that business name Maxxis Nairobi Energy. So unless there is further guidance we need to check from our technical department. So far that was what was given, as per our records,” said Nyabuto.

The question however remains: Who is Maxxis Energy Nairobi? Who owns it? Did the Nema technical team give the correct name to the public?

Similarly, is Adan Hassan Mohamed, who owns 500 shares in Maxxis Green Energy Limited same as the Adan Hassan Mohamed who was in the judiciary system and court order?