The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has refuted claims by a local businesswoman at the centre of a controversy surrounding the importation of a multi-billion oil consignment into the country.
Ann Njeri Njoroge is reported to have gone missing after visiting the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to record a statement over the ownership of the cargo, which she claims was illegally offloaded at the Port of Mombasa despite a valid court order.
Njoroge, through her lawyers led by Cliff Ombeta claims she is the owner of the 100,000 metric tonnes worth about Ksh17 billion, offloaded at the port.
However, KPA, in a statement on Monday, November 13, insisted that the oil was imported into the country by Aramco Trading Fujairah company through a 'Government-to-Government' arrangement.
KPA Board chair Benjamin Tayari noted that the agency had established that Ann’s Import and Export Enterprises Limited, whose cargo was linked to the missing businesswoman, was not approved to receive the 93,460 tons of Gasoil loaded by the tanker under question at the Saudi Arabian port of Yanbu in late September.
"Information and records in our possession show that MT Maigui loaded her cargo of Gasoil totaling 93,460.46 Metric Tons (under 4 Bills of Lading serialized 13768-000010 -13) between 26th and 28th September 2023 at Yanbui - Samref terminal, after which she departed for anchorage at Jeddah where she arrived on 29th October for cargo dopping and sampling. On 30th September 2023, she departed for Mombasa," the KPA boss stated.
"On 11th October 2023 MT Haigui tendered her notice of readiness and called the Port of Mombasa under the Agency of Sturrock Shipping (Kenya) Limited. The Agent requested for the ship to be brought alongside and KPA piloted the vessel into the terminal where she berthed on 4th November 2023 at 0840HRS."
According to Tayari, out of the manifested 93,460.46 metric tonnes of Gasoil, 49,091.724 metric tonnes were destined for Kenya with the shipper being M/s Aramco Trading Fujairah as nominated by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
The remainder of the cargo totalling 44,368.736 metric tonnes, KPA said, was destined for neighbouring countries including Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"MT Haigui commenced discharge on 5th November 2023 at 1342HRS," he added.
"The consignees and their respective portions of the bulk cargo are listed in the Manifest submitted by the Ship's Agent and KPA confirms that M/s Ann's Import and Export Enterprises Limited is not one of the manifested consignees."
Tayari further noted that the documents submitted by Njoroge's firm were invalid.
"KPA has noted the circulation of a purported Orginal Bill of Lading of Ann's Import and Export Enterprises Limited who claims to be: a. Shipper of all the cargo described as Diesel EN590 b. Consignee of all the cargo described as Diesel EN590 in MT Haigui c. It is stated that Cargo was loaded onto MT Haigui in Jeddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia on the 9th October 2023.
"Unlike Bills of Lading, the document is signed by the stated Shipper and not the Master of the Vessel. The cargo said to be manifested in the Purported Bill of Lading is 100,000 Kilograms (equivalent of 84MT) only, which is approximately only 0.09% of the total product carved on board MT Haigui. The voyage duration from Jeddah anchorage to Mombasa was 10 days, and therefore it is impracticable for the vessel to have been loaded in Jeddah on 9th October 2023, yet she arrived In Mombasa on 11th October 2023. Further, copies of MT Halgui's ownership documents in KPA's possession do not show Ann's Import and Export Enterprises Limited as the owner of MT Haigui.
According to KPA, other anomalies observed in the purported Bill of Lading include the origin of the cargo indicated as Azerbaijan Republic and loaded at Jeddah, contrary to the actual origin which is Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.
"The product is indicated as Diesel EN590 10 PPM. This is contrary to the manifested cargo which is Gasoil cleared under KEBS pre-import inspection as KS EAS 177 50 PPM. The Gross Tonnage of the vessel is indicated as 100,000. This Is contrary to the actual tonnage of 61,338 GT," Tayari said.
Further, the KPA boss noted that the ship's stamp purported Bill of Lading was not identical to vessel's (MT Haigui) stamp.
"Loading date indicated as 9th October 2023 which contradicts the ship's actual loading date between 26th and 28th September 2023. Further, the vessel actually arrived in Mombasa on 11th October 2023, which Is only 2 days after the purported loading date, not correct. The purported Bill of Lading is not signed by the Master of the Vessel," KPA concluded.
Yesterday, Lawyer Ombeta told the media that Njoroge had gone missing after she was advised by Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir to report her complaint to the DCI.
“Her phone is off and no one can trace her. The officers say they don’t know anything about her. 24 hours later Njeri has not been presented before any court,” Ombeta said.