Kenyan authorities should be on high alert following revelations that some of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imported from Tanzania could be of unknown origin.
Oman has disowned three ships ferrying cooking gas to Tanzania, declaring that the cargo did not originate from its port of Sohar.
The National Oil Company of Oman (OQ) says there were no exports of LPG in the months of February, March, and April 2022 from the port.
But one of the ships with 3.005 million tonnes of LPG meant for the East African market and which came through Tanzania indicated the cargo originated from the Port of Sohar in Oman in March. There is definitely mischief here and there are parties intent on concealing their activities.
The scandal has sparked fears that the commodity could have originated from sanctioned countries such as Iran. Kenya receives a significant share of its cooking gas from Tanzania through the border towns of Namanga and Loitoktok.
It is therefore likely that some untraceable LPG has been traded and consumed locally.
It is important that Kenya does not run into problems with regard to sanctions imposed on countries that are likely to engage in smuggling to beat the restrictions placed on their trade with the outside world.
Most of the sanctions on countries such as North Korea, Iran, and Syria are imposed by the United States and Europe – which are major trade partners for Kenya.
Importing goods from debarred countries risks hurting diplomatic and trade relations besides attracting secondary sanctions.
Beyond maintaining good relations with its largest partners in global trade, the government should also be keen on the traceability of critical commodities like LPG for safety reasons.