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Drama as DCI confiscate 700 bags of suspected fake fertiliser

Western

A scuffle ensued between Kakamega county officials manning a fertiliser store and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives after they seized 700 bags of suspected fake fertiliser on Tuesday.

The county officials who welcomed the detectives disappeared for about an hour with the key to the store and returned as the detectives were heading to Butali Law Courts to seek orders to forcefully access the store.

Malava OCPD Paul Mwenda told the Press that detectives raided the store after receiving complaints from locals over the suspected fake fertiliser.

"The DCI has come to take samples for forensics investigations following the outcry. We were rushing to court to get an order to get access to the store but returned when the county official with the key finally presented himself and opened it for the investigations," he said.

The detectives spent hours in the store taking samples from the fertiliser before sending them for testing to the regional Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kisumu.

The Regional DCI boss Benard Korir said the the crackdown on suspected fake fertiliser has been mounted across Kakamega county.

The search took place even as locals matched to the store with receipts, some with bags of fertiliser demanding refund of their money.

"I bought eight bags of the 25-kg packaged fertiliser on March 5 at Sh1,920 each. I opened one of them after hearing complaints from other farmers that it contained stone-like particles that couldn't dissolve. I put it in water and true to their word the samples could not dissolve. Since I had not lost the receipt and not used them all, I walked to this store for a refund but no one wants to attend to me," claimed Nathan Maloba, a resident of Chemuche ward.

Milka Mukhwana and Juma Luvisia suspect that mobilisation of farmers to buy the fertiliser by some county officials was geared towards clearing the suspected "fake consignment" in record time to avoid detection.

The Kakamega Assembly Agriculture Committee deputy chairman Geoffrey Sikolia said they were in the dark on procurement of the fertiliser and they never got a chance to alongside the county Agriculture docket.

"I don't even know the supplier of the fertiliser or from which country it originated but I hear of Dubai being a possible source. We will summon the Agriculture executive to shade more light on the source and content of the fertiliser," he said.

MCAs David Ndakwa (West Kabras), Titus Kwoma (Chekalini), Boniface Akosi (Shinoy-Shikomari-Esumeyia) and Kasim Tingili (Kholera) said the assembly allocated Sh800 million towards purchase of fertiliser but locals were getting a raw deal.

"There is outcry across the entire county even in my own ward (Kholera) to a point that we are calling for speedy investigations to establish the content of the fertiliser and if anyone is found culpable for adulterating the fertiliser they should simply take political responsibility," said Tingili.

They also took issue with the cost of the fertiliser compared to the subsidised product being supplied by the national government.

County Agriculture executive Benjamin Andama denied claims of fake fertiliser saying the county procured if from a genuine dealer.

Kakamega Deputy Governor Ayub Savula said that the county had put in place measures to ensure every farmer gets certified fertiliser.

"I am hearing this for the first time as the fertiliser we have been issuing is above board. Let's get the opinion of the government chemist first before commenting more about it," he said.

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