Kenya now enlists Interpol in Triton saga

January 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – The government has contracted Interpol to help track down Triton Petroleum Proprietor Yagnesh Devani whose collapsed firm is at the centre of a Sh7.6 billion fuel scandal.

Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said the international police would closely work with the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to get to the bottom of the matter.

Mr Devani is widely believed to be holed up in one of the European capitals after his company was placed under receivership over the scam, in which the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) released stocks to Triton without the authority from ‘financiers’ that include the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).

“We want that Triton gentleman brought back here. We are doing everything possible to make sure that the (alledged) fraud is fully investigated and the culprits brought to book,” he vowed.

Investigations at KPC into how more than 126.4 million litres of fuel was released to Triton and a forensic audit on the fuel products held at the pipeline have already commenced.

Mr Murungi said that the government was also trying to trace and recover the assets lost in the scandal.

“All those products were sold to institutions in this country. We want to know where that money is and we want to get it recovered so that it can go to the financial institutions which had financed those products,” he pledged.

The Minister also disclosed that discussions with banks and other oil marketers’ financiers were underway to ensure that the system used for the importation of fuel continued seamlessly and that it is not affected by the issue.

Triton won the oil importation tender in October to supply the industry with 80,000 tonnes of crude and refined oil, but only managed to deliver 56,000 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike has defended himself and other ministry officials over allegations of corruption in the scandal.

Nyoike, who was cornered by reporters on Tuesday, told them that he and other KPC board members only got to know about the scam on Monday last week.

“I am not involved in the management of KPC; they only come to me when they have any issues to bring to me. Otherwise, I have a very busy schedule that require my attention but not to go and micro-manage the day-to-day running of the company,” he retorted when asked why he didn’t know about the on goings at KPC yet he sits on the board.

The PS said he was ready to resign if ongoing investigations into the scam implicated him.

“I’ll step down and I’m prepared to face the law if I’m found guilty. I can assure you that I have never dealt with Triton but you people (media) are trying to prosecute us, send us home or to jail. It’s not fair,” he charged.

The fraud case has already seen Triton placed under receivership and claimed the job the managing director of KPC George Okungu.  KCB risks losing the close to Sh2billion it used to finance the oil dealer to import fuel.


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