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Kenya deports French oil firm CEO over fuel shortages

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The Kenyan government has deported Christian Bergeron, the chief executive of Rubis Energy Kenya – a subsidiary of France-based Rubis Group.

It follows the cancellation of the work permit of the CEO of one of the biggest oil marketers in Kenya over a fuel shortage.

The energy regulator has accused some oil marketers of withholding the supply of fuel to the local market and prioritizing exports to neighboring countries.

The regulator also warned that the 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 neighboring landlocked Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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There has been a major shortage of the commodity in recent weeks across the country, with long queues forming in pump stations.

According to the Energy Ministry, Kenya has sufficient stocks of petroleum products and the scarcity is a result of some oil markerters hoarding and prioritising exports to neighbouring countries. This amounts to economic sabotage, it said.

“The government will not tolerate any entity or person that is causing distress by creating an artificial problem. Any entity that is not ready or willing to work within the framework of the laws of Kenya is invited to vacate this market promptly,” said Energy Minister Monica Juma.

Experts say the current crisis in Kenya has been caused by a delay in disbursing fuel subsidies owed to oil marketers.

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Kenya subsidizes fuel prices to cushion consumers from higher fuel pump prices.

But oil marketers have been complaining of delays by government to compensate them for government-subsidised prices they charge consumers.

The government released some of the delayed payments last week.

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