CLOSURE UNLAWFUL

Reopen Nakuru oil firm, energy regulator told

It had been closed on March 25 for alleged illegal refilling of other firms' gas cylinders

In Summary

• The court declared the decision by EPRA to indefinitely close the gas company’s plant procedurally unfair, unconstitutional and unlawful.

• Two men from the plant's site charged with illegally refilling other brand's gas cylinder.

Liquid petroleum gas, LPG gas cylinders.
LPG Liquid petroleum gas, LPG gas cylinders.
Image: FILE

The High Court has ordered the reopening of a liquified petroleum gas storage and filling plant in Nakuru within 10 days.

Justice Joel Ngugi issued the order on September 4 to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPR) and Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai.

The plant in Nakuru's Industrial Area belongs to Smart Gas Energy Ltd after it won a case challenging closure.

The judge declared EPRA's decision to indefinitely close the plant procedurally unfair, unconstitutional and unlawful.

Ngugi said EPRA may visit the facility within 10 days and take electronic records of any evidence as needed. He also said the authority may approach the trial court in Nakuru for orders on a scene visit and collection of physical or electronic evidence.

Smart Gas Energy Ltd challenged the closure as unconstitutional.

The company told the court that around March 20 this year, EPRA officers accompanied by DCI officers inspected its refilling plant.

They found about eight assorted brand cylinders outside the plant at a location reserved as a storage area for cylinders belonging to Energy Dealers Association (EDA), the company said.

The officers arrested one man identified as Kang’ethe and another person at the site. They were charged with illegally refilling gas cylinders without authority from the brand owners.

EPRA and DCI officers returned to the plant on March 25.

This time, they sealed the plant and ordered it closed.

The company said the actions were "marred with irregularities, having been carried out without regard of the due process and are aimed at harming the applicant’s business enterprise".

The company said the regulator did not provide any reasons to justify interference with its business, contrary to constitutional requirements and the Fair Administrative Action Act.

EPRA had opposed the application.

(Edited by V. Graham)