Head of Kenya’s energy regulator arrested over petrol station bribe accusation

THE head of Kenya’s energy sector regulator has been arrested over accusations he demanded a $1,800 bribe to reopen a shuttered petrol station, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has announced.

Robert Pavel Oimeke, the director general of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, did not respond to calls and text messages seeking comment and there was no immediate statement from any lawyer representing him.

Oimeke was accused of demanding 200,000 Kenyan shillings ($1,795) to approve the re-opening of a petrol station that had been shut down over violations, the EACC said in a statement.

He was arrested late on Thursday and was in police custody, the commission added. “He is likely to be charged with corruption next week,” EACC spokesman Yasin Amaro said.

The energy regulator headed by Oimeke has broad powers over the sector. It sets retail fuel prices every month and approves electricity tariffs, along with its oversight duties.

Kenya, which has East Africa’s largest economy, suffers from widespread graft. Government promises to bring hundreds of suspects to account over the last three years have not borne any significant convictions, with many cases stuck court. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.