BY SAM ALFAN.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority and Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai have been ordered to re-open Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling plant in Nakuru within 10 days.
Justice Joel Ngugi ordered the regulator and the police boss to reopen the plant in Nakuru’s Industrial Area, belonging to Smart Gas Energy ltd in 10 days.
The Judge further declared the decision by EPRA to indefinitely close the gas company’s plant as procedurally unfair, unconstitutional and unlawful.
“In order to ensure the orderly execution of order (c) above, given EPRA’s legitimate interests in preserving any evidence at the facility for purposes of the criminal trial and/or to take inventory of any equipment or assets for purposes of any potential order of forfeiture, within the ten (10) days permitted under that order,” the Judge said.
Justice Ngugi said EPRA may visit the facility and take electronic records of any such evidence as needed and if necessary, approach the trial court in Nakuru for appropriate orders for scene visit or collection of scene of crime physical or photographic evidence.
Smart Gas Energy ltd moved to court to challenge the closure as unconstitutional. The company told the court on or about March 20 this year, EPRA’s officers accompanied by DCI officers visited their refilling plant for inspection and 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 Kang’ethe and one other individual at the site and charged them before Nakuru Court with illegally refilling gas cylinders without the authority from brand owners.
The company added that EPRA and DCI Officers returned to the company’s plant again on March 25, 2021.
“This time, they sealed the plant and ordered it closed. The Ex Parte Applicant believes that the Respondents’ actions are “marred with irregularities having been carried out without regard of the due process and are aimed at harming the Applicant’s business enterprise,” the company argued.
The company further said the regulator did not provide any reasons to justify the interference with its business, contrary to constitutional requirements and the Fair Administrative Act.
EPRA had opposed the application.