Anti-graft agency probes more Oimeke graft cases


Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) boss Pavel Oimeke. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is seeking more bribery cases against Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) boss Pavel Oimeke ahead of him being charged in court.

Mr Oimeke was arrested and released on Sh20,000 police bond over accusations he demanded a Sh200,000 bribe to reopen a petrol station, which had been shut.

EACC spokesman Yassin Amaro said the case to be presented in court is expected to involve other corruption allegations that Mr Oimeke may have been involved in before the Sh200,000 bribe.

“When we get such cases, we also go backwards first to gather enough evidence around the case and collate any other related cases because in many cases it happens that someone caught red-handed like that has been involved in similar schemes before,” said Mr Amaro.

“We will present the case and get consent to charge from the Directorate of Public Prosecution as soon as we are done.”

Today marks two weeks since Mr Oimeke was arrested and released after a night in police cells after which the board interdicted him and appointed Daniel Kiptoo from the Energy ministry to head the regulator in an acting capacity.

His delayed prosecution had left many questions, including why he did not appear in court on December 14, when he instead appeared in the office and stayed the entire day before he was interdicted.

The EACC detectives arrested Mr Oimeke on Thursday after receiving the Sh200,000 bribe from an employee of an Oyugis-based fuel station.

The petrol station had been closed after it was found to be in possession of super export petrol but even after settling with the Kenya Revenue Authority by paying a Sh309,842 fine and obtaining taxman’s clearance letter, the Epra was still reluctant to give it the greenlight, sparking the bribery deal.

Investigators then accompanied the complainant to the EPRA headquarters with the treated Sh200,000 that had been demanded, leading to the arrest of Mr Oimeke at his offices in Upper Hill.

In October, the Epra boss returned to office after two months of court battle following a petition that had been filed to oppose his reappointment for a second term in office.

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