Meet The Tycoon Who Plunged Kenya Into A Fuel Shortage, Fled With Country’s ksh9 Billion
Yagnesh Devani founded Triton Petroleum limited in 2000. The father of one is a trained stockbroker and commodity trader with interests in the oil industry.
Devani was born in Kenya in March 1965 and by the time he was in his early thirties, he was enjoying high level connections with the political forces in the government including ministers and permanent secretaries.
In 2006 during the launch of Triton’s LPG depot, political heavyweights such as the then vice president Moody Awori, Hon Raila Odinga and Hon Uhuru Kenyatta were in attendance.
Before he fled Kenya, Devani was living an extravagant lifestyle owning a fleet of luxurious vehicles including a Range rover, Audi, Mercedes S600 and Toyota Lexus. He owned a house in London worth Ksh 550 million as reported by the Business Daily.
The publication also reveals that in 2007, Devani flew in guests from London and India in first class to come to Nairobi to celebrate his wife’s 40th birthday.
He chartered a private jet to bring in a top musician from India to perform alongside a top UK Jazz band in the birthday party. Hairdressers for the ceremony were brought in from London and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The guests were awarded a classy Rolex watch each and the whole event was estimated to cost Ksh300 million.
The Ksh9 billion scandal famously known as the Triton Scandal happened in 2008 when Triton was allowed by KPC to withdraw 126 million liters of oil amounting to Ksh 9 billion.
The company was later placed under receivership and collapsed afterward withdrawing the oil and selling it to the market. By January 2009 the country was witnessing a fuel shortage. Students going back to school and Kenyans returning to their work station after the December holidays were stuck.
Devani together with his friend Mahendra Pathak fled the country to Prayagraj India to perform rituals at the Magh Mela ceremony.
Last year,the government promised Devanithe preferential treatment at Kamiti prison if he’s extradited from the United Kingdom.
The controversial businessman has been out of the country for more than a decade after his company Triton was embroiled in the Ksh9 billion nationwide oil scandal in 2008.
This led to a long court process in which the government has made attempts to bring back the suspect in order to be tried on Kenyan soil.
Devani has challenged his deportation on multiple occasions leading to delays in his extradition to the country.
So much so, that the State now offers preferential treatment for the suspect if the UK facilitates his return.
Reports indicate that the suspect would have his own cell and washroom in order to match international standards.
Devani, in his appeals, has cited harsh conditions in the Kenyan prison systems which would go against Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits torture or degrading treatment.
Devani, known to be well connected to political bigwigs during former President Daniel Moi’s regime, has managed to evade justice for 10 years after his company Triton was found with 96,000 tonnes of petroleum without approval from authorities.
The businessman reportedly left the country in 2008 for India to attend a religious event.
Three years later, UK authorities announced they had apprehended the suspect in London. This led to the Kenyan government filing extradition requests on two occasions for the suspect to be extradited to the country.
If the extradition occurs, Devani would face up to 19 counts of financial crimes.