Yagnesh Mohanlal Devani, a wanted criminal and business magnate, has been pursued by the authorities for the last sixteen years and deported back to Kenya by United Kingodom authorities. 

Last week, Devani was discreetly deported from Britain, prosecuted in a Nairobi court, and then released on bail. He was ranked among Interpol's most-wanted Kenyan individuals in 2013 for his suspected involvement in the Triton fuel theft scam.

The prosecution did not challenge his application for release on bail. After rejecting four charges of merchandise theft and unlawful disposal, the accused was freed on Sh1 million cash bail plus one contact person.

According to previous reports citing an official audit, the 2008 scam put the Kenyan taxpayer at risk of losing more than Sh7.6 billion. This was because Devani's company, Triton Petroleum Company Limited, had a lucrative contract to supply oil under a system that was meant to help local oil firms, but the company breached its agreement with the financiers.

The wanted man had been charged for the unlawful disposal of thousands of tonnes of petrol oil, jet fuel, and motor spirit premium, valued at $9,019,630 (Sh1,470,199,690), when he was arraigned before Robinson Ondieki, the senior principal magistrate of Milimani, on January 23, 2024. The products had been entrusted to Kenya Commercial Bank Limited (KCB).

Haji is authorised to modify accusations against the CEOs of Triton.Ms. D. Rugut, who is serving as the acting assistant director of public prosecutions, drafted the three-page charge sheet.

The media portrayed Devani as a cunning businessman with strong political ties who purportedly pilfered the jet fuel purchased using KCB funds for his firm, Triton Petroleum Limited.

He and his business, Triton, were given the financing.

Yagnesh Mohanlal Devani,

Following the accusations against his co-defendants, Devani escaped to the UK and is now wanted for several crimes after the court granted an arrest order.

The theft of 318,656 metric tonnes of jet fuel, valued at $365,974 (Sh58.8 million at current exchange rates), from KCB's property occurred between April 23, 2008, and December 4, 2008, at the Kipevu Oil Storage facility in Mombasa County. Devani and Triton are among those accused in the case.

The second accusation said that KCB's property—2,000 metric tonnes of vehicle petrol oil worth $215,934 (Sh34.6 million)—was stolen from Kipevu Oil Storage on various occasions between April 23, 2008, and December 4, 2008, with the help of people who were not present in court.

The defendants and others in their group allegedly stole 418.134 metric tonnes of motor spirit premium from the bank between May 15, 2008, and December 4, 2008, at Kipevu Oil Storage, with a value of $438,031.10 (Sh70.3 million).

The trial court observed that the defendants, together with others named, took 12,782 metric tonnes of KCB-owned automobile petrol oil from the Kipevu Oil Storage facility between November 2, 2008, and December 4, 2008, with a value of $7,999,691.39 (Sh1.28 billion).

Devani was accused on many counts of fraudulently disposing of the aforementioned very combustible petroleum items.

On February 12, 2024, the matter will be brought up for pre-trial instructions. Even though Devani had fled the nation, the state continued with the lawsuit anyway.

Since Devani was the primary suspect, chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei denied requests for further time, and the case continued without him. Those who accuse him of working with them have been demanding a quick trial.

Along with Julius Kilonzo, Mahendra Pathak, and Benedict Mutua, he is suspected of having committed the act.

Mutua is suspected of distributing the oil in question without Fortis Bank's authorization and is furthermore facing allegations of abuse of office.

The government has requested Interpol's aid in implementing the warrant of detention against the business tycoon, according to prosecution attorney Edwin Okello, who briefed the court.

To face allegations of fraud against the Kenya Commercial Bank and the Emirates National Oil Corporation of Singapore, Kenya requested Devani's extradition in 2011.

In 2013, Kenya submitted yet another deportation request, this time against Devani on the grounds that he had defrauded the global financial institution Fortis. In all, he was charged with nineteen counts of financial offences.

Devani dragged the case through the UK courts by challenging both demands.

He will be extradited to Kenya to stand trial on multiple state allegations of fraud after the UK Court of Appeal rejected his asylum plea in May 2020.

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