Triton scandal causes panic in govt

January 15, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – The scandal surrounding Triton Petroleum Company and the missing millions of litres of fuel from the Kenya Pipeline Company has sent ripples through the government with reports of frenzied consultations round the clock.

A top Cabinet Minister and Permanent Secretary (PS) quizzed a Triton director for two days on what he knew of the scandal fearing repercussions in this latest saga.

Sources said there was outrage in the government over the scandal, which comes at a time when the country is grappling with a food shortage and accusations of impropriety in dealing with subsidised food.

The source told Capital News that the Government was concerned about the perennial bad news implicating senior officials even before the dust from post election violence and the damning Waki report settles.

Reports also indicated that Rwanda, which relies heavily on Kenya for fuel supplies, is short of the commodity because of the current scandal.

There was also a beehive of activity at leading law firms in the country, battling to get a slice of the Triton fall out.

Various top legal companies are seeking to act for the concerned Cabinet Minister, PS as well as Triton. Advisors for the anxious individuals agree that only Yagnesh Devani, the proprietor of the oil firm, should face the law over the firm’s unscrupulous dealings.

Insiders say consensus had largely been reached that should Triton be able to sell off enough assets to repay its debt to financiers, no one else would have to be held accountable for the scandal.

The developments come in the wake of a decision by a Nairobi Court to issue a warrant of arrest for the Triton proprietor, over the Sh7.6 billion fuel scandal.

Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei issued the warrant on Wednesday after a Police Inspector told the court that they could not trace the oil dealer to answer to fraud charges.

Mr Devani is alleged to have fled the country, an allegation that his lawyer has dismissed.

The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has sued the businessman, for ‘stealing by agent’ over Sh1 billion guaranteed through various debentures to import crude and refined oil to the Kenyan market.

The huge oil shipment financed by KCB, the principal guarantor of Triton Petroleum – now under receivership – is said to have disappeared from the facility in Mombasa last month.


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