EPRA appoints acting chief as Oimeke faces exit

His contract renewal is currently the subject of a court case

In Summary

•The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority has designated Mueni Mutung'a as acting director-general.

•The court has issued conservatory orders on the renewal of Pavel Oimeke's contract.

Embattled EPRA Director General Pavel Oimeke. His contract renewal is subject of a court case/
Embattled EPRA Director General Pavel Oimeke. His contract renewal is subject of a court case/

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority(EPRA) board has appointed Mueni Mutung'a the acting director-general as former boss Pavel Oimeke's contract renewal faces opposition, with a pending court case.

Board Chairman, retired Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang’ yesterday announced Mutung'a's appointment effective Monday, August 17, amid mismanagement of resources and abuse of office allegations against Oimeke currently in court.

Last Tuesday, Justice Hellen Wasilwa temporarily stopped the EPRA board, the Energy, and Petroleum and Mining ministers, from considering the renewal of Oimeke’s tenure, which ended on August 1.

This is after a case was filed, seeking to have the process subjected to competitive and procedural requirements, despite Oimeke who has been in office since 2017 being eligible for a second term.

The petitioner, Emmanuel Wanjala, has argued that EPRA has witnessed massive losses from among others, spillages, installation of faulty meters, corruption and court cases against the authority by former employees.

These are employees who were dismissed for pointing out mismanagement of resources and abuse of office, with mismanagement said cost taxpayer billion in losses.

“The manner in which he runs and conducts business as the director-general of the authority does not only raise ethical questions but also contravenes provisions of the constitution and statutory provisions regulating public institutions and the conduct of public servants,” Mr Wanjala, through lawyer Henry Kurauka, said in the petition.

Justice Wasilwa restrained the board and other entities from deliberating, extending and or renewing Oimeke's contract, pending the hearing and determination of the application and the petition.

In a statement yesterday, the board said Mutung'a, the Corporation Secretary and Director Legal Affairs will serve in the place of Pavel Oimeke “whose contract renewal is currently the subject of a court case, under which conservatory orders have been made and are still pending.”

Mutung'a has had a successful career in legal practice for a period exceeding 20 years.

She began her career at Robson Harris & Co.Advocates and later served as a legal officer at Toyota Kenya.

Pprior to joining EPRA, she was the corporation secretary and head of legal services at Kenya Wildlife Service(KWS).

She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi. She also holds a Diploma in Legal practice from the Kenya School of Law.

She is a member of the Law Society of Kenya and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries.

“The board's choice of Ms. Mutung'a for this role is based upon her seniority in service , and upon a duly-approved succession plan,” chairman Ojwang said.

Oimeke has been instrumental in leading the transformation of the regulator from the previous Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) into EPRA.

He has been at the forefront in efforts to streamline the LPG and petroleum  sub-sectors in the country.

Oimeke was appointed EPRA director-general on August 1, 2017 on a renewable three-year term.