17 December 2920
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said that the head of Kenya’s energy sector regulator, Pavel Oimeke, has been arrested over accusations he demanded a $1,800 bribe to reopen a shuttered petrol station. He was arrested after a sting operation set up by detectives from the EACC. The commission took action after a complaint filed by an employee of the filling station who had been asked for the bribe. The fuel station had been closed by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for selling fuel meant for export.
The station was fined $2,800 by KRA which they later paid and were issued with a clearance letter to be taken to the DG Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to enable him to authorize the opening of the station, EACC said in a statement.
The EACC said an employee at the fuel station handed over the cash to Oimeke at his office. The employee had tipped off the anti-corruption agency. Following the handover, the EACC arrested the EPRA official. The EPRA removed Oimeke from his post. The police held Oimeke overnight and then released him on bail.
The energy regulating agency headed by Oimeke has broad powers over the sector. It sets retail fuel prices every month and approves electricity tariffs, along with its oversight duties.
The EPRA appointed Oimeke to head the agency in 2017, for an initial period of three years. When the time came for his appointment to be renewed, a legal case was filed in an attempt to prevent this.
Prior to joining the Authority, Mr. Oimeke served as a consultant for the World Bank funded multi-agency program, the Lake Victoria Environment Management Program implemented in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania. He has also consulted in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Uganda and Malawi.
Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy. It suffers from widespread graft. Government promised to bring the suspects to account over the last three years. But there were no significant convictions,