Embattled Pavel Oimeke eyes Bonchari MP seat after Epra exit


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

Former embattled Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) director-general Pavel Oimeke has expressed interest in the Bonchari parliamentary seat which was left vacant after the death of Oroo Oyioka on February 15, 2021.

His revelation came just hours after he announced his resignation at the energy regulatory agency.

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

His exit comes amid a corruption case in which he is accused of demanding a Sh200,000 bribe to reopen a petrol station in Oyugis, Homa Bay County that had been shut down over tax violations.

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 was issued with a clearance letter for Mr Oimeke to authorise the opening of the station.

He was arrested by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in December and released on Sh20,000 police bond.

Barely three months earlier, in October, Mr Oimeke had been reinstated at Epra 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 is seeking to make his maiden entry into politics to replace Oyioka who passed away at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu after battling a long illness.

Oyioka had won the Bonchari seat by a landslide after garnering 11,963 votes on a People’s Democratic Party ticket in 2017.

It is not clear which political party Mr Oimeke will join.

“I am still consulting on which party to use as a ticket to my political leadership,” he told the Business Daily on phone on Tuesday.