Mystery surrounding the controversial importation of oil products valued at Sh17billion deepened further after the disappearance of the said owner, Anne Njeri Njoroge of Ann’s Import and Exports Enterprises Limited amid claims that part of the fuel shipment was siphoned and two other firms claiming ownership.
Counsel Cliff Ombeta has since raised alarm over the alleged disappearance of his client, Njeri, a billionaire and longtime importer of products including fuels.
He said Njeri had been summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu Road on Thursday last week but he has not heard from her since.
“She has been untraceable and not reached for the last two days.” Lawyer Ombeta said.
According to the lawyer who resorted to social media pleading for the release of his client and cited possible threats to her life, he said officer investigating the case told him that his client had not been summoned and they denied knowledge of the disappearance.
He said the alleged disappearance is linked to the Sh17 billion diesel that he said she had imported to Kenya through Saudi Arabia from Turkey.
Even so, fresh fears have emerged that some people could have been siphoning the diesel amid the dispute over ownership.
This is after two people as claimed by the lawyer took advantage of his client’s lack of an oil-importing license and claimed ownership of the 100,000 Metric tonnes of oil.
“Some people have been trying to steal the oil from her.” Ombeta said.
The matter started on November 4, 2023 while she was sourcing for a buyer of the oil before it could get into the country.
The authorities are said to have informed her that the ship had docked at the port in Mombasa without her consent which led to her reporting to know who had authorized.
The transactions of the ship were then temporarily stopped.
On November 8, 2023, Njeri filed a case at the Mombasa High Court suing some companies and obtaining orders for the ship not to offload.
Ombeta revealed that she had wanted the companies to deposit Sh17 billion before the case was heard and determined while the CEO of the said company in their response added that no importation could be possible for anyone without a license.
“Njeri imported 100,000 metric tons of diesel worth 17 billion, which were supposed to be sold to any party that was still willing to buy from her. She is aware of the rules of how you can import fuel from government to government and had found a few individuals who tried to help her since she had no import permit.” Ombeta said.
In response, they urged that legal notice 3 of 2023, a new framework for the importation of Petroleum products in Kenya be only through government to government.
Preliminary investigations reveal that the cargo was linked to Njeri who has some interests in Dubai and Kilifi.
“The vessel was released back to the high seas after the matter went public on Saturday and more reports about the whole deal emerged. Usually, all kinds of cargo are tracked using a feeder which shows what is happening including activities within the vessel, we suspect that the oil was siphoned by the time it was released.” A source intimated.
So far, the whereabouts and safety of Njeri remain unclear.
The ship carrying the cargo arrived in Kenya on October 11, 2023 and could not be allowed to offload after another company claimed ownership in unclear circumstances.
The court is expected to determine the ownership of the oil cargo tomorrow, Tuesday, November 14, 2023.
The probe could be widened to cross border countries including Tanzania where it is believed Njeri could have found a buyer when the local deal did not go through.