By: Justus Obando @MountKenyaTimes
Deputy President William Ruto has called for the immediate arrest and possible prosecution of all Government officials and other individuals whom he claims are behind the high cost of fuel in the country.
DP Ruto in a social media post Tuesday accused corrupt public officials of ‘gifting’ Ksh 12/litre to private companies, causing the punitive fuel costs while the cartels rake super profits.
The second in command further blamed the surge in fuel prices on some government policies currently in place like price controls and allocations to oil marketers.
“Decisions amongst them to ‘gift’ sh12/litre to private companies causing the punitive fuel costs while cartels rake super profits must be reversed ASAP and all corrupt public officials involved/benefiting prosecuted,” said DP Ruto.
“Price controls must be removed for competition to lower prices,” he added.
According to the latest costings of fuel by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), oil marketers are raking in Ksh.12.39 from each litre of fuel sold in assured suppliers margins from the fuel pricing formula.
Price controls were introduced by the government in December 2010 as a counter measure to deal with the then high fuel prices, which were largely a factor of bloated crude costs in the international market.
The DP on Monday said unscrupulous petrol businessmen were using the Petroleum Ministry to manipulate the prices of the essential commodity to boost their profits.
He wondered why the cost of petrol in Kenya was higher than in Uganda, a landlocked country that relies on Kenya for its petroleum imports.
Ruto called for the liberalisation of the petroleum market to cushion Kenyans from greedy businessmen.
The DP who MET grassroots leaders from Kigumo Constituency, Murang’a County at his Karen Residence claimed the unscrupulous businessmen in the petroleum industry were allegedly using the Ministry of Petroleum to manipulate the prices of fuel.
“By protecting the cartels and aiding a few companies to make super-profits, the state Department of Petroleum is hurting Kenyans,” he said.
Critics however accused the DP of Ruto holding his tongue on the matter when Charles Keter, a key figure from his populous political support base in the northern Rift Valley region, was at the helm of Energy ministry.
Keter was late last month moved to the Devolution Ministry previously held by Eugene Wamalwa and was replaced by Monica Juma who previously held Defence ministry.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi last challenged Members of Parliament to move the debate on fuel from the roadsides to Parliament.
Muturi challenged the lawmakers to introduce a bill in parliament to advocate for a drop in fuel taxes to reduce the cost of living.
“While I reckon that the cost of living has sharply risen due to among others the cost of fuel, I have challenge Members of Parliament to move this debate from Baraza meetings to the House when it resumes on Tuesday next week, and bring a proposal to reduce tax on fuel,” Muturi at St Michael Catholic Church, Kiangungi in Runyenjes Constituency, Embu County on September 19.
Fuel prices in Kenya mid last month shot up significantly, sparking outrage across the country.
The price of petrol jumped 6% to 134.72 shillings per liter in Nairobi, while diesel and kerosene sells at Sh115.60, Sh110.82 respectively.
The new rates have been in place from Sept. 15 up to (tomorrow) midnight October 14.