Businesswoman Anne Njeri in Sh17b oil deal skips parliamentary grilling

Vincent Kawire, chair of the National Assembly's Energy Committee (3rd right), discusses with committee members after Ann Njeri who was scheduled to appear before the committee on the disputed 17billion oil consignment, failed to appear in Nairobi on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A businesswoman who claims to own Sh17 billion worth of diesel that is at the centre of a political storm has failed to appear before a Parliamentary committee probing the controversial oil import deal.

Anne Njeri Njoroge, the director of Ann’s Import and Exports Enterprises Limited, was expected to face the National Assembly’s Energy Committee on Wednesday, November 22, but sent a letter signed by Diro Advocates LLP, saying she was “indisposed and immobile.”

The letter did not disclose the nature of Njeri’s illness or whereabouts, but requested for a postponement of the meeting to a later date.

The committee, however, expressed its displeasure with the excuse and demanded that Njeri avails herself as soon as possible, saying the matter was of national interest and urgency.

Njeri is said to be the owner of a consignment of 100,000 metric tonnes of diesel that was imported from Saudi Arabia and is now being disputed by Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir and Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u.

CS Chirchir has alleged that Njeri presented forged documents with which she wanted to lay claim to the oil cargo, which he said was imported by Aramco Trading Fujairah FZE through Galana Energies Limited.

He said Njeri failed to meet the minimum threshold to secure the import license and the documents she used to claim the oil consignment were all fake.

He dismissed claims by the businesswoman that she is the bonafide importer of the cargo, saying her application for an oil importation license was rejected on October 29 by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra).

The dispute has also attracted the attention of Azimio leader Raila Odinga, who has accused the two CSs of being part of a scam to loot public funds by withdrawing Sh42.97 billion from the consolidated fund, without the approval of Parliament, to subsidize “private financial enterprises” in the oil sector.

Odinga has since demanded the resignation and prosecution of the two CSs, claiming he has evidence linking them to the illegal withdrawal of Sh17.2 billion from the consolidated fund in June 2023, which he suspects was used to pay for the disputed diesel.

The Energy Committee has also summoned the two CSs, the oil companies involved in the deal, and the relevant regulatory agencies to shed light on the matter and provide the necessary documents to verify the ownership, origin, and destination of the diesel.