EDITORIAL: Prosecute fuel thieves


An oil tanker in Mlolongo where KPC discovered fuel siphoning June 26, 2019. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

The incident on Wednesday of fuel siphoning from the Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline in Mlolongo, following a similar one in Kibos last August, should be a wake-up call for the authorities to crack down on those abetting diversion of fuel, which ends up loading taxpayers with the extra burden of paying marketers for the “disappeared” supplies.

In July 2017, the Kenya Pipeline Company lost diesel and kerosene worth millions of shillings in illegal oil tapping on the Nakuru-Kisumu line in Muhoroni. Last August, KPC said it would procure leak detectors and a pipeline intrusion system to detect such illegal connections in the future. This is yet to be done.

Petroleum minister Peter Munyes made a similar pledge last week, saying it would cost taxpayers Sh51 billion to install the system along the Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline in the wake of the Makueni spillage in which the company lost more than 551,000 litres of oil. At the time, we raised questions as to why such a system was not factored into the original pipeline design.

Unless there is collusion at very high levels, the government and the company ought to stop the tough talk now and act to ensure that the culprits face the full force of the law and those who are still walking free are arrested and prosecuted.