Embakasi Explosion: 4 Govt Officials Suspended Moments After Ruto Order
The directive came moments after President William Ruto ordered the dismissal, arrest and detainment of government officials
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has announced the suspension of four of its officials in connection with the Embakasi gas explosion that claimed the lives of three people.
The four include the Director of Environmental Compliance, the Acting Deputy Director of Compliance, the Senior Environmental Officer of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) section and the Head of Environmental Impact Assessment.
"Preliminary investigation has revealed that four NEMA officers unprocedurally processed the license and are therefore culpable. The Board therefore directs that the implicated officers step aside immediately pending further investigation by the relevant government agencies," a statement by Emilio Mugo, the Chairman of NEMA Board of Management, read in part.
Firefighters at the Embakasi explosion on February 2, 2024. /MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
NEMA revealed in its preliminary investigations that the gas plant owners forwarded an Environment Impact Assessment project report to NEMA while seeking permission to install and operate the Embakasi facility. The report was submitted to NEMA on July 29, 2020.
The EIA Project report was then dispatched on April 25, 2022, to the following lead agencies for sectorial review and comments to guide NEMA on the licensing process:
- Energy & Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA)
- Director of Physical Planning - Nairobi City
- Water Resources Authority
- Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health
- Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company
- Director of Urban Planning and Development
On July 28 of the same year, a review of the project was done and several issues were raised with NEMA advising the gas owners to address them before another scheduled review.
NEMA sought clarity on the land ownership and asked the owners to provide evidence of undertaking consultation with immediate neighbours of the Nyayo Estate Residents Association. The proponents of the project respond vide documents dated August 22, 2022 and February 1, 2023.
"The Project Proponent submitted a comprehensive EIA report with potential impacts identified and mitigation measures proposed in the Environmental Management Plan. A record of the decision was made to issue the proposed project with an ElA licence," NEMA stated.
NEMA then issued the licence with conditions that the owners ought to have met, including compliance with various laws in the construction of the LPG plant.
However, the board found gaps in the issuance of the license to the LPG plant in question and discovered that the four officials issued the licence unprocedurally, leading to their suspension.
"The Board further requests the relevant government agencies to commence immediate investigation. The National Environment Management Authority's Management is also hereby directed to cooperate with the already established multi-agency teams handling the incident," added NEMA.
The directive came moments after President William Ruto ordered the dismissal, arrest and detainment of government officials responsible for allowing the operation of the gas plant that exploded in Embakasi on Thursday night.