EACC says Oimeke used texting app to solicit Sh0.5m bribe


Bonchari Member of Parliament and formerly Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) director general Robert Pavel Oimeke before a Nairobi court on Monday, September 13, 2021 during the hearing of a bribery case against him. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

A request for a bribe via a text on Signal message app and secret tape recording were used to nab the former head of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) while seeking a Sh500,000 bribe to reopen a shuttered petrol station.

Anti-corruption officials seized thousands of shillings from Mr Pavel Oimeke, now Bonchari MP, suspected to be a bribe, a Nairobi court heard yesterday.

Mr Mike Mbuvi, an officer from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), told the court that he seized Sh200,000 from Oimeke on December 12, 2020, which had been handed to him by a petroleum dealer.

Mr Mbuvi said the money was given by Mr Wycliffe Odhiambo whom Oimeke had asked to give a bribe of Sh500,000.

The court heard that the MP had requested the bribe via a text on Signal message app.

The anti-corruption officers said they had armed the complainant with a recording device to capture their conversation with Mr Oimenke and there was prove that he received the money.

Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko heard that EACC officials laid a trap for the former EPRA boss and arrested him after he received the money.

Mr Mbuvi said Mr Oimeke was arrested in his office in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

Mr Odhiambo had reported to EACC that Oimenke had demanded a bribe for him to authorise the reopening of a Petrol station in Oyugis Homa Bay County that had been shut down over violations.

The EACC officer produced in court the money seized as exhibits in the case.

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

Mr Oimeke's 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 resigned in March.

Hearing of the case continues.

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