KEBS MD arraigned in court over contraband goods

Written By: Beth Nyaga
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Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Charles Ongwae
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Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Charles Ongwae has been arraigned in court alongside nine other suspects to face charges of murder and the procurement of fake standardized stickers. 

Ongwae and his accomplices were arrested Friday in connection to the importation of over 5 Million bags of sub-standard fertilizer.

The prosecution says KEBS procured fake standardized sticker marks worth Ksh 882 Million.

The other charges include aiding commissioning of felony, breach of trust and abuse of office.

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The suspects, Quality Assurance Director Erick Chesire, Inspection Manager Kilindini Port Peter Ndun’gu, Port Health officer Pole Mwangeni, regional Manager Coast Martin Nyakiamo and Ongwae denied all the charges.

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The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti stated that charges against the officials have been approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, who last week said they could also face attempted murder charges.

Eight of the 10 defendants appeared before Kenneth Cheruiyot, senior principal magistrate in Nairobi, and pleaded not guilty. Two others were not present in court.

KEBS is responsible for checking the standard of goods entering the country.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and National Treasury are on the spot for allowing blacklisted companies import excess amounts of contaminated sugar in the country.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi kiunjuri and his treasury counterpart Henry Rotich were at pains explaining to MPs why they allowed any sugar importer bring in sugar of any amounts duty free between may and September last year.

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The joint committees of trade and agriculture had to chase away the two ministers after they failed to safety of the sugar in market.

The two parliamentary committees probing allegations of excess contaminated sugar invited Kiunjuri to shed light on how the illicit commodity found its way in Kenyan market.

The Cabinet Secretary attributed the excess sugar to a gazette notice issued by treasury last year in may allowing any importer to import any amount of sugar between may and September.

A gazette notice that unscrupulous traders took advantage of and imported raw sugar that is harmful to humans.

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MPs concerned that some of the companies that flooded imported sugar in the country had been blacklisted through a parliamentary report on sugar crisis adopted by the 11th parliament.

When Rotich appeared before the mps, he attributed the open gazette notice on importing sugar to prolonged drought of early 2017 that caused food shortage in the country.

Attempts by Rotich to defend the gazette notice on basis it was done in consultation with agriculture ministry, only evoked more questions from MPs.

The joint committees unsatisfied with response of the two cabinet secretaries, kicked them out to seek more information.

 

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