Kebs officials substandard fertiliser case kicks off today

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 00:00 | By
Kenya Bureau of Standards officials at a past court hearing. The seven have been charged with importation of 5,846,000 bags of fertiliser alleged to contain mercury. Photo/PD/FILE

The trial against former Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director Charles Ongwae and six others charged over importation of 5,846,000 bags of fertiliser alleged to contain mercury will kick off this morning.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, through his assistant Alex Akula, yesterday informed trial magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot he will be calling three witnesses today to testify in the case.

Criminal case

At the same time, the magistrate disallowed Kebs from appearing in the criminal case as an interested party saying  he has not issued any order to admit the State corporation in the case.

“I don’t remember issuing an order to the effect that Kebs can participate in this proceedings. Let not the State corporation waste public funds by hiring lawyers to represent it in this case,” said Cheruiyot. 

The case is expected to start today following several applications by the State and the accused  both in the High Court and the lower court over the tests undertaken by Kebs on fertiliser imported into Kenya by OCP Kenya limited which purports to reveal the presence of excessive mercury in the fertiliser.

Haji had, at some point, sought to have Cheruiyot out of the case claiming the magistrate had exhibited bias while handling the case.      

In the case Ongwae was charged afresh alongside Kebs officials Eric Chesire Kiptoo (Director, Quality Assurance), Peter Kinyanjui (Inspection Manager, Kilindini Port), Martin  Nyakiamo (Coast Region Manager, Kebs) and Pole Mwangeni (Port Health Officer Kilindini) and a KRA official Eric Karimi.

They have since denied several charges of attempted murder for allowing the importation of substandard fertiliser containing mercury as well as and abuse of office, among others.

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