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#StopIllegalGasRefilling: Netizens decry the rise of unlicensed gas refilling plants, ask gov’t to crack the whip

CAPTION: A police officer stands guard at an illegal cooking gas refilling plant in Karatina, Nyeri County.

On Monday, social media users on popular platform, Twitter, decried the reemergence of Illegal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) despite the tightening of regulations meant to tame the dangerous trade that continues to endanger the lives of millions of consumers.

The cartels have been accused of illegally importing cooking gas through porous border points and taking advantage of the transition period before the new, stringent rules are enforced, to set up illegal refilling dens in various parts of the city, including in residential areas, to make a killing.

After smuggling the cooking gas, which largely falls below local quality standards, the illegal dealers skew the market by offering attractive rates, thereby attracting unsuspecting consumers.

Just last week, a supermarket in Kawangware was found selling hundreds of rebranded cylinders belonging to various oil marketing companies in a raid that saw the owner of the store arrested and later released.

A local daily has accused Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority Director General Pavel Oimeke, who has been blaming weaker regulations for the existence of LPG cartels, of failing to respond to their queries on the matter.

Through the hashtag #StopIllegalGasRefilling, one netizen Oimeke of receiving bribes from notorious businesspeople in exchange for licensing their illegal gas refilling plants.

Another blasted the commission’s leniency in hunting down substandard refills that neither consider the condition of cylinders nor have control over the quality or quantity of the product in the cylinder.

In 2017, Nairobi businessman Isaac Irungu hit a snag in his Sh4.6 million compensation demand from National Oil Corporation of Kenya after a gas cylinder explosion left him with serious burns.

Last year, police impounded over 500 gas cylinders in a night raid at a residential house in Eastleigh. Another raid was conducted at Madaraka estate where more than 600 cylinders were found being refilled under risky conditions in a residential house.

Here are more tweets from the hashtag.

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