New gaps as Sh17 billion oil cargo saga deepens

Businesswoman Anne Njeri Njoroge and her lawyers Cliff Ombeta (right) and David Chumo leaving the Mombasa Court premises on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

As the controversy around the disputed oil estimated to be worth Sh17 billion rages on, it has emerged that the tonnage of the oil ordered by the government and the cargo supplied was inconsistent.

A statement by the Ministry of Energy dated November 15 revealed that the government had ordered for the supply of 85,000 metric tons of diesel that was supposed to be delivered between October 17 and 19, 2023.

The ministry stated that on September 7, it wrote to Aramco Trading Fujairah through their nominated oil marketing company, Galana Energies, for the task.

“On 21st September, Galana Energies advised the ministry of the nomination of MT Haigui for delivery,” the statement by the ministry reads.

Tripartite agreement

It added that the company entered into a tripartite agreement with a local bank and Kenya Pipeline where they were issued with a letter of credit for the cargo as per industry practice.

And in line with the Open Tendering System agreement, the ministry stated that Galana tabled the required documents for the process.

“As per copy of bill of lading from Galana which was authenticated by the vessel master, MT Haigui was laden with 93,460.46 metric tons of diesel from the port of Yanbu Samref TMNL berth No.55 Saudi Arabia,” the statement reads.

The ministry acknowledged that Ann’s Import and Export owned by Anne Njeri Njoroge made an application to import oil products on October 9 through the online platform but it was rejected on October 29.

Some of the reasons for rejection included failure to prove annual sales volume in Kenya of 6.6 million litres of petrol or kerosene and failure to meet proof of operation of a licensed depot in Kenya.

It was also stated she failed to prove annual turnover of US$ 1O million for the last three years for applicants with operations outside Kenya.

Meanwhile, the ministry says the vessel master rejected the Bill of Lading by Ann’s Import and Exports terming it as fake, citing that their stamp was not similar to the stamp for MT Haigui.

The ministry stated that the vessel arrived on October 11 while the Bill of Lading provided by Ann’s Imports and Exports was dated October 9, noting that it was impossible for the vessel to arrive in two days from Saudi Arabia.

The vessel berthed and commenced discharge of the diesel into Kipevu oil storage on November 4 and five days later, Galana Limited were served with injunction with a claim that the diesel on board the vessel was for Ann’s Import and Exports. “Galana filed a response on 10th November 2023 and the injunction was lifted on November 14th, 2023,” the ministry stated.

However, Ann’s Imports and Exports advocate told The Standard that the orders were lifted after the judge intimated that he had information that the diesel had been already offloaded and the ship was out of the Kenyan waters.

The lawyer added that by the time of the offloading of the ship, they had the orders stopping the discharge and even the ship from leaving.

On November 12, Kenya Ports Authority stated that the vessel carrying 93,460 metric tonnes arrived in the port of Mombasa on November 4 and discharged from November 5.

KPA Chairman Benjamin Tayari explained out of 93,460 tonnes of oil, 49,091 tonnes were destined for Kenya while the remaining was on transit to Uganda, South Sudan and the DRC.

Tayari admitted the matter was already in court but said KPA had not been served with any documents and was not ready to talk much about the case.

Even so, the businesswoman at the centre of dispute Anne Njeri Njoroge had reported that she had imported the diesel with his Israel partner from Turkey and passed the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

“Njeri imported 100,000 metric tons of diesel worth 17 billion which were supposed to be sold to any party that was still willing to buy from her. She is aware of the rules of how you can import fuel from government to government and had found few individuals who tried to help her since she had no import permit,” Njeri stated through advocate Cliff Ombeta.