Businesswoman Ann Njeri who is said to have imported a Ksh 17 billion consignment of Diesel from Turkey is missing.
She was last seen recording a statement at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over a dispute on the ownership of the fuel, according to her lawyer Cliff Ombeta.
Two companies Galana Energies Limited and Ramco have laid claim to the 100,000 metric tons of the said diesel.
Njeri’s lawyer said that her phone had been switched off and the DCI have denied having Njeri in their custody despite statements showing she had recorded a statement with them.
“Her phone is off and no one can trace her. The officers say they don’t know anything about her,” said Ombeta.
Ombeta said that 24 hours later Njeri has not been presented before any court.
Ombeta said that the authorities and the two companies have been questioning where Njeri got the money to import diesel worth such a colossal sum.
Ombeta said that her client received a High Court order in Mombasa barring the ship from leaving the dock and the diesel being offloaded until the ownership dispute is heard and determined.
In her prayers, Njeri wants Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Pipeline (KPL), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Ramco and Galana to deposit Ksh 17 billion in an interest earning account pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Ombeta said KPL must show that the diesel they are trying to siphon into containers belongs to the persons claiming ownership and should wait until the case is determined.
“The reason why Njeri is in custody is so that they can siphon the fuel from the ship into KPL containers and once it is there, then we have a problem because are we able to recover it back. KPA, KRA, KPL, Galana and Ramco must deposit an equivalent of Ksh 17 billion in an interest earning account for the case to go on in the meantime,” said Ombeta.
Ombeta said that Njeri has been in the import and export business of fuel for the past 33 years and she has a good credit record with her financiers.
He said the oil was loaded in Turkey and passed through the port of Jeddah and she imported the same with an Israeli partner.
Ombeta said that the ship was docked at high seas and was waiting for Njeri to source for a buyer in Kenya since she had no import license.
“The oil was loaded in Turkey Jedda port and all the ports she passed it shows she paid insurance. So who is Ramco and where did they appear from to claim the fuel yet they have no paper trail,” said Ombeta.
“How is it that Galana and Ramco are questioning where Njeri got her money. That is none of their business. She has been in the fuel import business for 33 years. So she is not new in the business,” said Ombeta.
He said that “Njeri imported 100,000 metric tons of diesel worth Ksh 17 billion which was to be sold to any party that was willing to buy from her. Apart from that, she has tried to bring the fuel into the country. She is aware of the rules of how you can import fuel when it is Government to Government and has found few individuals who tried to help her since she has no import permit,” said Ombeta.
He said Galana and Ramco took advantage of the situation and claimed ownership of the fuel.
He said on November 4th 2023, Njeri was informed that the ship had been docked at port yet she had not authorized it to dock in Kenya.
Ombeta said that Njeri reported the matter to port police and was given an OB number and two days later she was informed that Galana and Ramco were claiming ownership of the fuel.
“When she followed with port police, she was told that the people claiming the fuel were Galana Enterprise which she has nothing to do with. Galana said that the oil products belong to them and they are the qualified importers through Ramco who had instructed them, Galana being an agent for international oil companies,” said Ombeta.
He disputed the documents shown by the two companies as not being genuine.
Ombeta said the firms failed to show how the ship came into the dock yard, who was the host, the person who brought the fuel and what documents were used to bring the said products.
“She filed a case in Mombasa High Court and got orders where the ship was to be arrested and no transactions were to take place on the ship until an inter party hearing scheduled for Tuesday,” said Ombeta.
He said that on Thursday Njeri received a call and was told to report to DCI headquarters and she tried to call Energy Cabinet Secretary Chirchir who also advised her to report to the DCI.
Ombeta said that at the DCI she met with Head of DCI Amin who referred her to Berich in charge of investigations and after recording her statement she was blocked two officers.