Home ECONOMY EPRA declines to withdraw charges against 4 in illegal gas refilling case

EPRA declines to withdraw charges against 4 in illegal gas refilling case

by biasharadigest
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EPRA declines to withdraw charges against 4 in illegal gas refilling case

Pavel Oimeke
EPRA director-general Pavel Oimeke. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has rejected a request to withdraw charges against four persons accused of refilling gas cylinders without consent of the brand owners.

In response to the request by Talib Zein Salimin and three others, director-general Pavel Oimeke said they would press on with the charges.

He said the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) also opposed the request and said the matter should be handled “with the seriousness it deserves and the accused preferred charges accordingly”.

Mr Salimin, the proprietor of Swift Energy Distributors in Mavoko, Machakos, was arrested on November 29 and charged together with Musa Abdullahi Ali, Daniel Gichuhi Wachira and Evanson Gitau Kinuthia.

They denied four counts including refilling of liquefied petroleum gas cylinders of another licensee without written consent from brand owners.

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The court heard that they were refilling brands such as Pro-Gas, which belongs to Proto Energy Limited, Total Gas, which belongs to Total Kenya and K-Gas (KenolKobil) and Afri-Gas (Vivo Energy) without a consent from the companies in line with new regulations.

They were also accused of failing to maintain records as required by the Petroleum (LPG) Regulations of 2019. They denied the charges and a Mavoko freed them on bond.

But later, the accused persons sought to know whether the regulator wished to withdraw the charges and instead, substitute the offence with enforcement actions.

But Mr Oimeke said in a letter dated January 24 that the accused persons had on several occasions been found refilling the gas, against the law and the regulations. “The Authority is also aware that such major offences constitute breach of terms and conditions of the license issued to the accused and the Petroleum Act, 2019. The Authority therefore, has no intention of withdrawing the above subject case,” he said in the letter copied to the DPP and DCI.

The regulator also accused Mr Salimi, the director of the plant in Mlolongo of transporting the gas cylinders without the required license for transport of the cylinders as required by the Act and the vehicles did not meet the relevant standards for the design and distribution of cylinders.

An official at the DPP’s office, who asked not to be named, said they have already advised the prosecutor not to withdraw the charges.

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