Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and retail station dealers found to be hoarding petroleum products risk a one-year jail term or a one million shillings fine including revocation of their licenses, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has warned. This follows reports of artificial shortage of petroleum products in the country particularly, Western Kenya.
According to EPRA director general, Mr Pavel Oimeke, the country has sufficient petroleum stocks. However, preliminary investigations indicate that a number of OMCs are deliberately holding back sales to non-franchised petroleum retailers (independents) in anticipation of a price increase. He warned that the practice is tantamount to hoarding and is an offence punishable by law.
In a statement, EPRA said it will invoke the Petroleum Act No. 2 of 2019 Section 99(1)(k) that forbids hoarding of petroleum products. Condition no. 15 of the Import, Export and Wholesale of Petroleum Products License and the Retail of Petroleum Products License also bars OMCs and other petroleum products retailers from engaging in activities intended or likely to disrupt or interfere with competition, including but not limited to, cartel like behavior and creation of artificial shortage of petroleum products.
Mr Oimeke added that OMCs and petroleum retail station dealers found to have committed the offence of hoarding shall be prosecuted in accordance with the law and their operating licenses permanently revoked.
Members of the public are encouraged to immediately report any suspected instances of petroleum products hoarding to EPRA through email@example.com or hotline numbers 0708 000 444 or 0709336000.