The NIS has joined the crackdown on the illegal exchange of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders as part of measures aimed at controlling illicit refilling rackets in the country.
Mombasa tycoon Jaffer Mohamed has been slowly building a gas empire under his pink cylinders selling under the proton energy Kenya ltd company-the same company that is associated with the collapse of Mwananchi gas that was State-Sponsored.
In his long road to success, Jaffer befriended and later dumped so many individuals who enjoyed close proximity to state power. From as far back as 1980s and 1990s,
Jaffer has been a cartel since the 80s, he made friends with Joshua Kulei who was former President Daniel Arap Moi personal aide. He later dumped Kulei when KANU was swept out of power.
Jaffer also befriended a former Kenya Port Authority CEO Brown Ondego and elevated him to the Board of Directors of his GBHL business. Ondego was close to former Vice President and former Deputy Prime Minister and currently ANC Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi, who has been accused of multiple scandals including Goldenberg.
David Chebii, Director of Fichua Uhalifu at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), stated that the DCI was committed to fully implementing the Petroleum (Liquefied Petroleum) Regulations, 2019, which prohibit LPG marketers from handling cylinders owned by rival players who are not part of their gas cylinder exchange pool.
The operation will be enforced by a multi-agency team comprised of officials from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), DCI, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra), and the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
Following that, the police would confiscate gas cylinders and motor vehicles, as well as close the impacted facilities deemed to be in violation of the legislation, as the government strives to effectively combat the illicit trade, which costs Kenya billions of shillings.
The restrictions eliminated the mandated cylinder exchange pool, which marketers blamed for enabling a potentially dangerous parallel refilling channel. It permitted companies to trade cylinders freely through arrangements authorized by the energy regulator.
Penalties for unlawful gas refiling have been more than tenfold increased to a minimum of Sh10 million as part of a new campaign to ensure the safety and protection of oil merchants.
Mr Chebii stated that they have received complaints about some gas operators who continue to encourage illegal commerce.
“Other than ensuring that these people operating illegal gas refilling centres, popularly known as mashimo [Kiswahili for ‘holes’], remit taxes to KRA, we are also out to ensure the safety of the public because some of these facilities are operated in residential areas,” said Mr Chebii.
In the recent unsubstantiated claims, Jaffer has been accused of buying himself out of authorities radar and scrutiny. Inspirited media campaigns, the Mombasa based tycoon is accused of sponsoring and shutting down several investigations including parliamentary investigations that he bought off MPs, and others influenced by RAO.