Embattled Epra boss Pavel Oimeke resigns

Pavel Oimeke has resigned as Epra director-general. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Embattled Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) director-general Pavel Oimeke has bowed out of the State agency.

Mr Oimeke, in a statement on Tuesday, said he submitted his resignation to the Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on February 16.

He leaves the energy sector regulator amid a corruption case in which he is accused of demanding a Sh200,000 bribe to reopen a petrol station, charges he denies.

“I Pavel Robert Oimeke, EBS would like to announce my resignation from the position of director-general at the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority,” he said.

His return to the office after arrest in December led to a split in the board which tapped one of its members, Daniel Kiptoo, to replace him in an acting capacity.

Mr Oimeke was accused of demanding Sh200,000 to approve the reopening of a petrol station in Oyugis that had been shut down over tax violations, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said.

The fuel station had been closed by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for selling fuel meant for export. The station was fined Sh309,842 by KRA and were issued with a clearance letter for Mr Oimeke to authorise the opening of the station.

Mr Oimeke had been reinstated in October after a two-month court battle following a petition that had been filed to oppose his reappointment for a second term in office.

The petitioner, Emmanuel Wanjala, alleged that Epra had witnessed massive losses due to spillages, installation of faulty meters, increased court cases by former employees who were dismissed for pointing out wrongdoings or mismanagement of resources and abuse of office.

Mr Wanjala accused Mr Oimeke of abuse of office, mismanagement of a public institution and public resources, corruption, tribalism and favouritism.

He was cleared by the High Court which found no merits in the allegations raised by Mr Wanjala.

Mr Oimeke was a former director for renewable energy at the Energy Regulatory Commission, later renamed Epra, before he was appointed as the director-general after serving in an acting capacity for a few months. He took over from Joseph Ng’ang’a in 2017, after the latter attained the retirement age of 60.

“I take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to the current acting director general Mr Daniel Kiptoo and the EPRA board and staff as they continue to serve Kenyans. I am looking forward to serving Kenyans in other capacities,” he said.

He previously worked at Finlays Kenya Limited and Kenya Tea Development Agency in research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions for the manufacturing and tea sectors in the country.

He has also served as a consultant for the World Bank-funded multi-agency programme, Lake Victoria Environment Programme implemented in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

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