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Rein in these fuel cartels

The continued illegal activities of well-organised cartels that adulterate diesel and petrol with kerosene before selling it to consumers represents a clear case of what happens when lax enforcement by the authorities meets raw greed and impunity.

The Nation reported last year how crooked businessmen, obviously with cover from powerful political and security officials, have been doing booming business by cheating consumers and selling adulterated fuel.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter at the time expressed grave concern, not least because these activities have seen Kenya lose valuable regional export markets.

Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania have, for example, expressed concern about the quality of fuel with some of the countries drastically reducing imports from Kenya.

The operations of these cartels are not just bad for the economy.

ADULTERATED FUEL

They also pose an extremely grave danger to the residents of the estates in which they operate, many densely populated low-income neighbourhoods such as Mukuru Kwa Njenga in Nairobi.

There are also the effects of adulterated fuel on vehicles and machines whose effects are felt over a long time. 

The Energy ministry and the police should wake up and stop this activity now.

It appears the crackdowns and new rules introduced by the Energy Regulatory Commission to check the cartels have not worked.

It is disingenuous for authorities to act as though they are powerless in the face of this illegal trade.

The police, the ministry and the regulator have all the resources they need to track down and stop these criminals. They should do so without further delay.

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