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Govt officials to be grilled over Triton

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – A parliamentary committee has said it intends to question government officials and oil industry players to unravel the Triton fuel scandal that involves the loss of Sh7.6 billion.

Members of the Energy, Communications and Public Works committee told reporters that they wanted to know how some 126 million litres of petroleum was released from the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) to Triton Petroleum Company without the authority of local and international financiers.

“The release of the products was an express breach of agreement between KPC and the financiers. It is a scandal that needs thorough investigations,” the committee’s chairman James Rege said.

He said that the State Corporation was at risk of being liquidated if Triton creditors decided to go to court to recover monies due from the company.

This, he said, would in turn subject the country to a major crisis that would be felt in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo which rely on Kenya for oil imports.

“The government will be left with no other option than go to the exchequer for Sh 7.6 billion to bail out KPC in order to avert a major crisis in the region,” he said.

Of much concern to the committee members was the fact that three major international oil trading companies namely Fortis of France, Glencore of UK, Emirates National Oil and the country’s own Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) stood to lose huge amount of money as a result of a scam.

Engineer Rege who is the Karachuonyo MP said the committee was also disturbed by reports that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga may have been duped to launch an enhancement pumping project for KPC at Makindu, Konza, Manyani and Samburu.

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“We understand KPC may have lost millions of shillings in the project to individuals,” he said.

Committee member Ekwe Ethuro of Turkana Central who accompanied him at the Friday press conference said ‘the matter is serious’.

Mr Ethuro said the committee would not spare anyone in the investigations which were due to commence once Parliament reconvened on January 20.

He said they planned to question all stakeholders involved and top Ministry officials including Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi and his Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike and other players in the oil sector.

Mr Nyoike recently sought to exonerate himself from the scandal and vowed to quit his position if implicated in the clandestine deal.

“We will interrogate all of them. We will not spare anyone be it top Ministry officials or other stakeholders because we want to get to the root of the matter,” he said.

“A report of the investigations will be tabled in Parliament,” he said.

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