Millions lost as cartel descends on oil pipeline

Officials look at a yard in Muhoroni village in Kisumu County where stolen oil was kept. [Photo: Collins Oduor, Standard]

Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) may have lost diesel and kerosene worth millions of shillings to a cartel that had illegally tapped into their Nakuru-Kisumu line.

Senior KPC engineers from Kisumu and Nakuru, shocked by the discovery, flew to Muhoroni where they discovered a complex fuel siphoning network described by County Commissioner Maalim Mohamed as criminal economic sabotage.

The racket, said to have been ongoing for at least three months, was unearthed by residents alarmed by the increasingly wet environment that reeked of diesel.

KPC’s Kisumu depot Deputy Manager Herman Munga said they could not immediately tabulate the loss but an independent analyst said it may run into several millions.

“There was interference with the line that led to spillage of the product and we have isolated the line and contained the spillage. We are making preparations for repair as investigations are also launched,” said Mr Munga.

Munga said determination of loss could only be made after workers reconcile volumes pumped from Nairobi with that which was received in Kisumu.

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A network of pipes and tanks ran from the infiltration point to a petrol station labeled Hess Energy Kenya some 100 metres away, KPC officials found out. So intricate was the siphoning network that a popular night club in the area was bought off to cover it up.

The county commissioner said they had teamed up with KPC officials to investigate the racket. “This is economic sabotage and we will not rest until those behind the crime are arrested and prosecuted,” said the county commissioner.

Bernard Ng’eno, a guard at the Kenya Power sub-station close to the club said fuel tankers would dock at the station as early as 5am in the morning.

“Once a week a truck would come here; we thought it was bringing fuel because we had heard of plans to reopen the fueling station,” he said.

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