Energy PS grilled over Triton saga

February 27, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) on Friday begun investigations into the Triton oil scandal by questioning Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike and a member of the Yagnesh Devani’s family.

Mr Nyoike was grilled for four hours by anti graft detectives but refused to talk to journalists who had camped at the KACC headquarters at Integrity Centre.

“I will not talk to you. Why don’t you go and ask the people who were grilling me,” he charged when accosted by reporters.

A senior official at the Commission confirmed to Capital News the PS was questioned in connection with the oil scandal which amounts to Sh7.6 billion.

“We wanted to know if he played any role in this issue because of his position at the Ministry,” an official with knowledge of the investigations at Integrity Center said.

He said the detectives wanted to know if the PS was aware of any collusion between Devani’s Triton Petroleum company and Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) officials to unlawfully release oil.

Mr Nyoike has in the past denied any involvement in the scandal, saying he was kept in the dark over illegal dealings between KPC staff and Triton Company where millions of litres of oil held in trust for financial institutions involved in oil importation were irregularly released to the oil marketer.

Other senior officials in the energy sector as well as officers from Triton were also due to be quizzed over the same matter.

Detectives also grilled a relative to the proprietor of Triton Petroleum.

The woman arrived at Integrity Centre Headquarters at about 10 am but left after two hours reportedly to go and fetch some crucial documents.

She returned to the KACC offices briefly with some documents the detectives had wanted to refer to.

The relative was identified by commission staff as Mrs Sonal Devani, the wife to the businessman.

The proprietor of Triton Petroleum Limited, Yagnesh Devani is still at large, despite an arrest warrant issued against him.

KPC officials are accused of providing Triton with 126 million litres of petroleum products, without the knowledge of the financiers that had funded the fuel imports.

About three weeks ago, former KPC Managing Director George Okungu was sent on compulsory leave over the alleged irregular release of the fuel to Triton and has since recorded a statement with KACC detectives.

On Friday, a Nairobi court was told that Devani’s arrest warrant had been extended.

Chief inspector David Wangai told the court that the investigating officer was liaising with Interpol police to help trace and arrest the tycoon.

Mr Wangai told the court that they hoped to trace the businessman before March 27 when the case is due for mention.

Mr Devani is accused jointly with others of stealing 955 million shillings from Kenya Commercial bank between last July 31 and August 1 at the bank\’s Moi avenue branch.

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