A report by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) on the 2019 case of missing Jet fuel leaves more questions than answers after the watchdog found there was no foul play.
An acute fuel shortage hit Kenya’s major airports in March 2019 causing rationing and diversion of airlines to regional airports, leaving the country embarrassed.
The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport nearly plunged into a crisis.
Kenya Pipeline Company, which transports and stores Jet A-1 fuel, blamed the shortage on oil marketers who ordered less fuel than the market demand.
The oil marketers shipped in 37,000 tonnes of fuel in January despite a request of 60,000 tonnes.
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The marketers, instead, turned the blame on State-owned Kenya Pipeline Corporation as it could not account for 51.2 million litres of fuel.
The oil companies also petitioned Parliament to investigate illegal oil marketers in the country who were allegedly supplying Jet A-1 fuel at rates lower than the landed price at the Port of Mombasa.
CAK now says there are no ghost players in the sector after it investigated the alleged illegal operators raising questions on who was to blame for the shortage.
“The authority noted that there was effective competition among oil marketers and that the product was priced above landing costs.
“Further, the authority did not detect any instances of abuse of dominance (predatory pricing and access to market) and therefore the matter was recommended for closure,” CAK director-general Wang’ombe Kariuki said.
The shortage last witnessed in 2014 brought back questions over the reliability of private players to run a crucial sector of the economy and lack of a fuel reservoir to act as buffer in times of shortage.