DCI wants Embakasi gas plant owner to face murder charges

Embakasi gas explosion suspects at a Milimani court on Tuesday, February 06,2024. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives have now recommended that the owner of the Embakasi gas plant in Mradi to face seven counts of murder.

The suspects who are still in custody after the court granted the police 21 days to conclude investigations will also face additional charges of operating a business without a license.

DCI detectives have been investigating the Embakasi gas explosion that left seven people dead and more than 200 injured.

Investigations by the police have revealed that there was negligence by the staff and management of the gas refill point.

Four suspects including Derrick Kimathi said to be the owner of the illegal gas plant were presented before a Nairobi court where the police sought 21 days to hold them to conclude investigations.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) said operations at the facility had been stopped after investigations revealed that they were refilling gas cylinders of other brands without authority.

The Petroleum Institute of East Africa pointed an accusing finger at the Judiciary for failing to give deterrent sentence to those found flouting regulations.

Other suspects who were presented before Nairobi Magistrate Dolphins Alego are National Environment Management Authority (Nema) staff David Walunya Ongare, Joseph Makau and Marrian Muteta Kioko.

DCI detectives are still pursuing the driver of the lorry that is said to have arrived at the gas refill point on the fateful day.

DCI boss Mohammed Amin yesterday revealed that the police are still looking for other five suspects.

In a Facebook post on the DCI page, Amin said the police are pursuing Stephen Kilonzo who is the site manager of the gas refill point and other senior officials in Nema.

As the investigations continue, officers at the Embakasi police who spoke to The Standard revealed that some high-ranking police officers in Nairobi had been shielding the operators from arrest.

Officers at the Embakasi Police Station who spoke on condition of anonymity said the police were aware of the illegal operations at this facility but could not act.

Sources told The Standard that any police officer who dared raid the illegal gas plant would face the wrath of the senior officers.

“We have tried but failed. The owners appear to be well connected and every time the police attempt to crackdown, we get calls from our bosses stopping us," said an officer at the station.

The influence of the owners of this plant is said to have spread to DCI headquarters.

Last year, four individuals who were linked to the operations in Embakasi were found guilty by a Nairobi court after relevant agencies raided the plant.