The release of contaminated sugar into the market has landed Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director Bernard Njiraini in court.
Njiraini was charged alongside seven other suspects with conspiracy to steal the condemned brown sugar valued at Sh20 million which was intended to be used as raw material for distillation of industrial ethanol.
“On diverse dates between December 9 2022 and May 3 2023 at an unknown place within the Republic of Kenya jointly conspired to steal condemned brown sugar valued at Sh20,064,000 which was intended to be used as raw material for distillation of industrial ethanol,” read the charge sheet.
Those charged alongside Njiraini were suspended Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) deputy commissioner Joseph Kaguru, Derrick Kago, Peter Mwangi, Chrispus Waithaka, Mohammed Ali, Abdi Yusuf and Pollyanne Njeri.
Njiraini faced another count of abuse of office in which it was alleged that he arbitrarily recommended conversion of the condemned sugar into industrial ethanol through the process of distillation which was prejudicial to KRA.
Kaguru also faced an additional charge of abuse of office where the prosecution claimed that he used his office to single source a company trading as Vinepack Limited to convert the condemned brown sugar into ethanol without competitive bidding as directed by the Attorney General’s office.
In the fourth count, all the eight accused persons were charged with stealing 20,064 bags of the condemned brown sugar at Kings Commodities Limited go-down at Makongeni area in Thika town where it had been stored.
Yusuf who is a businessman based in Mombasa faced an additional count of being in possession of the contaminated brown sugar where the charges stated that he was found with 12 bags of 50kgs each at his store in Mombasa.
All the accused denied the charges before Nairobi chief magistrate Lucas Onyina who released them on a cash bail of Sh400,000 each. The magistrate scheduled the case for pre-trial on June 6.