Oimeke quits Energy and Petroleum Authority after graft charges

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NAIROBI, KENYA: Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority Director-General Pavel Oimeke has resigned with effect from February 16.

The embattled DG is in court over a corruption case after soliciting Sh200, 000 bribe to approve the reopening of a petrol station in Oyugis that had been shut down over tax violations, charges which he has denied.

He formally submitted his resignation to Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on February 16.

“I take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to the current acting Director-General Daniel Kiptoo, the board and staff as they continue to serve Kenyans, I am looking forward to serving Kenyans in other capacities,” he said.
According to a statement by EACC, a filling station in Oyugis had previously been closed after being fined in a case involving possessing super export petrol. After paying Sh309,842 to KRA, and later issuing a clearance letter; the station opted to go through the EPRA DG to get authorisation for reopening.
 
 EPRA intentionally delayed releasing the authorisation prompting the staff from the filling station to visit the regulatory body and initiate communication. They would exchange numbers and conversation would continue over the phone.
 On Thursday, December 10, the complainant reported the case to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Later in the day, undercover investigators accompanied the complainant to EPRA headquarters with the demanded Sh200,000.
 
“After a while, the complainant handed over the Sh200,000 at Oimeke’s office consequently the approval letter was issued to him after the bribe,” read the statement by EACC.
 
Oimeka has been in office since 2017 with his tenure ending on August 1, 2020. The same month, the High Court blocked the renewal of Oimeka’s tenure—a decision that was being contemplated by the EPRA board and Energy and Petroleum and Mining Ministry.

Through the court case filed by Emmanuel Wanjala through his lawyer Henry Kariuki, the petitioner mentioned that the regulatory body had been experiencing massive losses due to spillages, corruption, installation of faulty meters and the dismissal of employees who faulted the wrongdoing of the management.
 
 Mr Wanjala also accused the EPRA Director-General of misuse of public funds and called the EACC to investigate his claims.