Kenya’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has made a renewed push to safeguard the country’s petroleum industry. The government-sanctioned watchdog has announced its most recent crackdown on rogue fuel traders.
Thus far, 13 people have been arraigned in a Kenyan court and charged with different malpractices related to the sale, resale and transportation of petroleum products.
The suspects were apprehended during an inspection of LPG trucks on transit at Kenya’s Namanga border, in the country’s Kajiado County.
The operation was conducted by The Energy Regulatory Commission in collaboration with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), a policing authority that undertakes investigations on serious crimes including homicide, narcotics, human trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, economic crimes, piracy, organized crime, and cybercrime, among others.
During the operation, 12 trucks loaded with liquid petroleum gas (LPG) were intercepted. Ten LPG trucks did not have valid ERC transportation licenses, one truck did not have an ERC import license and one (1) truck did not comply with National Police Service requirements.
“The Commission shall continue to intensify countrywide surveillance in the Petroleum Subsector in order to curb malpractices,” the ERC’s Corporate Communications Department said in a recent statement.
This will include the importation and sale of LPG that does not meet the Kenyan Standards; the transportation of LPG in bulk without a valid ERC license; the wholesale of LPG without a valid ERC license; the operation of unlicensed LPG storage and filling plants; and the filling of LPG cylinders without the authority of the brand owner.
The ERC added that its surveillance program will also cover the filling and sale of LPG cylinders that do not meet Kenyan Standards.
The Commission’s crackdown comes at a time when Kenya has officially launched plans to become a major fuel exporter in the East African region. The move comes just months after the country’s government disclosed plans to begin exploiting the nation’s crude oil reserves, which are mostly located in Kenya’s Lokichar region in the North.
According to mining and exploration company, Tullow Oil, Kenya has up to 4 billion barrels worth of oil in its reserves. The firm has been operating in Kenya since 2012.
Now the Kenyan government plans to safeguard the petroleum already in circulation to set the bar for the new reserves that will be processed in the coming months.