There has been a crisis for Kenyan aviation after 51 million litres of jet fuel worth Sh5 billion disappeared from the stocks at Kenya Pipeline Company. This has already made the Kenya Airports Authority to issue a NOTAM. It is a written notification to pilots instructing them to refuel at other locations until the crisis is resolved.
Oil marketers believed they had a total of 61 million litres of jet fuel, only to learn that the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) only had 10.5 million litres in its stocks. There is simply no clear explanation about the whereabouts of the fuel. It is what it is - a mystery. What is of no doubt however is that there is massive siphoning of fuel taking place.
Oil marketers are searching for answers from KPC. They have since written a letter addressed to the acting KPC managing director Hudson Andambi, in a quest for the truth.
"The (51 million litres) variance of our DPK/Jet stocks in the KPC system requires an explanation from KPC as we have already imported this stock and discharged it into the KPC system, and the same confirmed in your records," the letter read.
"Why are we being asked to buy more fuel when we had enough stock?"
The siphoning of fuel at KPC has been conspicuous really. But each time they have dodged scrutiny by accounting the lost fuel in their books as "spillage." They have been on the spotlight for quite some time now. This "spillage" paid either by "insurance companies or passed onto consumers through a racket that involved the Energy Regulatory Commission."
There is a shadowy syndicate operating at KPC, and oil marketers have had enough now. KPC say that they welcome forensic audits.
"This is precisely why we welcomed the request for a forensic audit," Mr John Ngumi, the chairman of KPC, said.
"We have had a historical problem with jet oil losses at the pump station at the airport, and also because of the adulteration ... we believe we have cracked the JKIA problem."
Much of the missing fuel is just reported as spillage or theft. It raises alarm, and creates bad conditions for the aviation industry in Kenya.
It is believed that the missing fuel has been sold to adulterate petrol. The scandal has caused disagreements within the company's board and has resulted in Joe Sang (then Managing Director) to be booted out. Other senior managers were also shown the exit door.
Joe Sang faced criminal charges, but it now appears that KPC is deeply rotten more than anyone can think.
Where are the millions of jet fuel going? Who is benefiting from this scandal? It is beyond any reasonable doubt that it is imperative to have more and more forensic audits at KPC.
Header image credit - The Nation