Self-proclaimed oil importer Ann Njeri Njoroge and her mysterious Sh17 billion oil cargo that has split top government officials has added to the controversy on the Government to Government petroleum deal.
Before last week, the internet did not have a lot of information on Ms Njoroge except for a court case, where a lady with the same name was awarded Sh9.2 million over a road accident.
The Business Daily could not independently verify whether the Ann Njeri Njoroge from the 2015 court case is the face of the contested billions of shillings worth of oil barrels, a dispute that has blocked a ship from offloading the fuel at the Mombasa Port onboard motor vessel Haigui for a month, as efforts to reach her mother and lawyers were futile.
Ms Njoroge has found herself at the centre of the consignment of about 100,000 metric tonnes of fuel valued at Sh17 billion which government officials claim belongs to Galana Energies Limited.
The standoff has brought forth the government-to-government fuel deal that Kenya struck with three Gulf-based companies amid questions as to who is behind the consignment that one of the parties claims is short-circuiting this agreement.
Does the fuel belong to Anns Import and Export Enterprises Limited or the company registered as Galana Energies?
On March 1, 2023, the government put out a tender where government-owned international oil companies were invited to bid for the supply of petroleum products on 180-day deferred payment terms and a contract period of 270 days which was awarded to three Arab firms: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Saudi Aramco, and the Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC).
Local companies handpicked to receive the oil include Gulf Energy Limited, Oryx Energies Kenya Limited, and Galana Oil Kenya Limited; these nominees will in turn supply the fuel to other local oil marketers.
The question is how Ms Njoroge comes into play in this saga.
Pauline — Ann’s mother— has described her daughter to journalists as aggressive, go-getter, one who doesn’t like being in the spotlight, and was never good at books.
With close to no digital footprint, Anns Import and Export Enterprises Limited was incorporated on October 30, 2009.
However, a press release from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum says “The company is not licensed to import petroleum into Kenya as required under Section 74 (1) (a) of the Petroleum Act 2019 and cannot therefore claim to have imported a diesel cargo into the country onboard MT Haigui.”
Just like her company, Ann has very little digital footprint. The Daily Nation team reported visiting some of her listed addresses for her company but did not find any trace.
“I applied to EPRA (for a licence), paid and I’ve been waiting to get the import permit which I didn’t know was necessary. As I was waiting, I went to see CS (Davis) Chirchir, who told me the oil (consignment) was no longer mine, it belonged to a company called Galana, in which I said I had not sold it cargo to anyone, there was no way it belongs to another,” Ms Njoroge added.
She says Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir directed her to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations from where she disappeared.
Mr Chirchir said the claim that a petroleum import licence had been issued, paid for and was awaiting signature was a fabrication.
He added the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) does not charge fees for petroleum licences, nor does it have any petroleum import licence issued to Anns Import and Export Enterprises Limited.
“I have not dealt with any forged documents in my businesses, all my documents are legit,” she responded.
The CS said: “I can further confirm that Anns Import and Export Enterprises Limited has not signed the transport and storage agreement as required under regulation 6 of the petroleum (importation), 2023 (LN 3/2023) and cannot therefore qualify to be an oil marketing company- defined as a company duly licensed to import Super petrol, diesel or jet A1 and is eligible to participate in the open tendering system.”
Attempts to reach Ms Njoroge on phone through her lawyers for a response were unsuccessful.
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