Kenyan government reportedly on Wednesday signed deportation papers for Rubis Energie Kenya Managing Director Jean-Christian Bergeron as it fought back against oil marketers it accused of abetting a petroleum crisis through hoarding and higher exports despite shortages in their domestic retail outlets.
Kenyan authorities have reportedly cancelled the work permit of a French chief executive of one of the biggest oil marketers in Kenya amid a fuel shortage crisis.
The government is said to have ordered the deportation of Christian Bergeron, the chief executive of Rubis Energy Kenya – a subsidiary of France-based Rubis Group.
High-ranking government sources reportedly told the Nation that the MD is accused of economic sabotage, a serious charge that attracts a prison term of up to 10 years as well as a Sh1 million fine.
Sources explained the government cracked down on Rubis which it blames for fuelling the crisis given it has a huge share of the local market. The firm is accused of blackmailing the government by demanding higher compensation yet a large consignment of its fuel had reportedly been imported before global prices shot up.
The energy regulator had on Tuesday accused some oil marketers of withholding the supply of fuel to the local market and prioritising exports to neighbouring countries.
The regulator said these companies would be punished by restricting the volumes of fuel they will be allowed to import for the next three months.
Kenya fuel companies sell about 65% of their imports to the local market and the rest to neighbouring landlocked Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There has been a major shortage of the commodity in recent weeks across the country, with long queues forming in pump stations.
Kenyan authorities say there is enough stock in the storage facilities.
There is speculation that some marketers have been hoarding fuel in anticipation of a price increase on Thursday when the regulator reviews prices for the next month.
Experts say the current crisis in Kenya has been caused by a delay in disbursing fuel subsidies owed to oil marketers.
Kenya subsidises fuel prices to cushion consumers from higher fuel pump prices.
But oil marketers have been complaining of delays by government to compensate them for the government-subsidised prices they charge consumers.
The government released some of the delayed payments last week.