Businessman denies supplying Sh209 million fake fertiliser

 

Businessman Josiah Kariuki before Milimani anti-corruption court magistrate Celesa Okore. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

A businessman associated with the alleged distribution of substandard fertiliser in the country will spend a night at Industrial Area Remand prison until Friday when the court will make a ruling on his bond application.

Josiah Kariuki alongside his two companies, 51 Capital Kenya and SBL Innovative, were charged before Milimani anti-corruption court magistrate Celesa Okore.

He denied seven counts of supplying 139,688 bags of fertiliser of 25 kilogrammes each of soil amendment and conditioner valued at Sh209,532,000.

Last week Thursday, his co-accused who are senior officials at the  National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) were charged with similar offense.

The NCPB Managing Director Joseph Muna, Company Secretary John Kiplangat and Development Committee Chairman John Mbaya were each released on a bond of Sh3 million each or alternatively pay a cash bail of Sh1 million each.

Okore also ordered that they deposit their passports in court and make application for them in case they want to travel outside the country.

According to the charge sheet the crimes were allegedly committed between March 17, 2022 and March 8, 2024.

Kariuki was also charged with forging a Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) permit in order to clear the way for 51 Capital African Diatomite industries to strike a deal with NCPB to supply the fake soil and conditioner branded as fertilizer.

His defence team objected to the prosecution's demand that the accused be denied bail.

"Your honour, we are seeking reasonable and affordable bond terms for the accused. He has cooperated well with the investigators and went to the high court to seek a conservatory bail," they said.

Kariuki's defence team argued that he had affixed abode, and family and was its breadwinner.

They asked the court to grant the accused the same bond terms as his co-accused who were charged and released last week.

The prosecution side argued that the accused was facing extremely serious charges as they not only touched on the farmers who were complainants but also many Kenyans.

"The life of the accused your honor is in danger from agitated members of the society outside there because his picture too has been publicized by the media. If he is detained for the period the case is on is better for his safety," asserted the prosecution side.

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