It has emerged that Derrick Kimathi, the businessman behind the deadly gas plant in Embakasi owns another illegal facility in Nanyuki.
Kimathi, a little-known businessman came into the limelight after an illegal gas plant associated with him exploded in the Mradi area in Embakasi leaving six people dead and over nearly 300 nursing injuries.
The businessman however though his lawyer denied knowledge of the gas plant’s operations claiming that the property was being used as a garage at the time of the explosion and not as a gas-filling plant as reported.
“The motor vehicle that caused this incident was trespassing into his [Mr Kimathi] property without his knowledge and consent and he is actively pursuing the details of that vehicle so that it can be exposed to the police,” Kimathi’s lawyer Wandugi Karathe said.
However, according to Daily Nation, Kimathi is associated with a similar facility in Laikipia East that was shut down by officials from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).
The businessman allegedly operates Maxxis Nanyuki Energy and Maxxis Nairobi Energy under his firm Derdols Petroleum Limited.
Maxxis Nairobi Energy had in 2020 submitted a report to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) seeking to legalize its operation, an approval that was still pending.
”The report was submitted to NEMA on July 29,2020 as a project report by project proponent Derdols Petroleum Limited under the business name Maxxis Nairobi Energy and was assigned reference number NEMA/PR/5/2/23790 (PSR 16708),’’ NEMA stated.
The firm further applied for a license to operate as a gas-filling plant in 2023, which was rejected by EPRA.
A day before the deadly explosion, two workers at his Nanyuki facility were arrested for illegal operations including refilling different brands of LPG cylinders without consent and transporting LPG cylinders by road without a valid license from EPRA.
The tragic Embakasi gas explosion on February 1, claimed two lives with the death toll subsequently rising to six.
The blast which caused a fireball sent shockwaves in the neighboring residential area, leaving over 280 persons injured and dozens homeless.
Those who died succumbed to burns sustained from the blast. An unknown amount of property was also destroyed in the incident.
Several people were arrested including the plant’s owner, NEMA officials David Ongare (Director Environment Compliance), Joseph Makau (Head Environmental Impact Assessment), and Mirrian Kioko.