The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authourity (EPRA) has been ordered to reopen a gas refilling plant its shut down in March 2021.
Justice Joel Ngugi directed EPRA to unseal the Smart Gas Energy Limited, located in Industrial area Nakuru county, within ten days.
It was closed in March 2021 over alleged unauthorised refilling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders without brand owners’ consent.
The judge delacred that the indefinite closure of the gas storage and filling plant was procedurally unfair, unconstitutional and unlawful.
The gas refilling plant, with 100 employees, was closed after EPRA officers accompanied by DCI officers visited it for inspection.
They found approximately eight assorted brand cylinders outside the plant at a location reserved as a storage area for cylinders belonging to Energy Dealers Association (EDA).
The officers arrested the owner, Mwangi Kang’ethe and one other individual at the site and charged them at a magistrate court.
They were charged with illegal refilling of LPG cylinders without the authority from brand owners and trading and dealing with LPG Cylinders of another licensee for gain without the said licensee’s prior written consent.
However, Justice Ngugi while ruling on a petition filed by Mr Kangethe challenging closure of his plant, said that the Petroleum Act does not, by any stretch of its interpretation, permit the indefinite sealing off of a facility where allegedly unauthorised refilling of LPG cylinders is happening.
The judge stated that section 120(a) and (b) of the Petroleum Act allows the forfeiture of the LPG cylinders and gas involved after conviction.
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