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Top KEBs officials in court seeking re-test of alleged substandard fertilizer

By Faith Karanja | January 9th 2019
By Faith Karanja | January 9th 2019
MD Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) Charles Ongwae addressing the press at Simba Lodge in Naivasha. [Antony Gitonga/Standard]

Top Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) officials facing importation of substandard fertiliser charges have made an application in court seeking orders to have it tested afresh.

Through senior counsel Paul Muite, they told the court that they want the fertiliser alleged to have mercury tested again.

“My clients are seeking orders for a fresh testing of all the samples done by Kebs in the presence of an independent laboratory and also by Thornton Laboratories testing and inspection services which is a worldwide leading laboratory based in Florida in USA,” said Mr Muite.

Initial test

The suspects said the initial test on samples of imported fertiliser unilaterally undertaken by Kebs on June 19, 2018, has never been released to OCP Kenya or to clearing agent of Bollore Transport Bernard Oduor.

In the case, Oduor is charged alongside Kebs MD Charles Ongwae and seven others over the importation of substandard fertiliser and circulation of fake Kebs stamp.

The suspects are seeking the orders on basis that the previous tests done by the importer and by independent laboratories, Bureau Veritas, Intertek and Cropnuts and also by Kebs did not reveal the presence of mercury in the fertiliser.

Oduor, in his application, said the charges they face are from test undertaken by Kebs on the fertiliser imported into the country by OCP Kenya Limited which purport to reveal the excessive presence of mercury in the fertiliser.

Muite, in his submissions, urged trial magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot to allow the application and order the reports to be tabled within 10 days.

All other suspects charged alongside Odour have since supported the application to have fresh test conducted.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), through Samuel Owiti, opposed the application and urged the court to dismiss it on basis that consignment that was imported by OCP Kenya Ltd failed to meet at least four of the 13 parameters that were tested.

According to the prosecution, the four contentious parameters include nitrogen, sulfur and mercury which is the subject of the case.

The court was told that the only recognised test is the one done by Kebs and prosecution urged the court to rely on it while making a determination.

Others charged alongside Oduor include Director of Quality Assurance Eric Cheshire Kiprono, Kebs Inspection Manager Peter Kinyanjui, Kebs Coast Regional Director Martin Nyakiamo, Port Health Officer-Kilindini Port Pole Mwangeni and Supervisor of Customs KRA Erick Kariuki Kirimi.

The court will next Tuesday to make a ruling on whether to allow the application or not.

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