DPP appeals decision to retest ‘mercury’ fertiliser

DPP Noordin Haji during a press conference in Nairobi. /EZEKIEL AMING'A
DPP Noordin Haji during a press conference in Nairobi. /EZEKIEL AMING'A

The government will no accept the re-testing of 3,500 tonnes of fertiliser seized in Mombasa on suspicion it contains mercury.

DPP Noordin Haji on Wednesday said they have appealed a court order to retest the Sh300 million consignment.

The fertiliser is being held at the Bollore Logistics Company Warehouse in Changamwe since June last year when it was impounded.

OCP Kenya Limited, a Moroccan company that imported the fertiliser, got orders to have the consignment retested.

The order was initially issued by a magistrate and upheld by Mombasa High Court judge David Ogembo following an appeal by the DPP.

On February 13, Ogembo directed the samples be collected the following day and retested on February 15 at Kenya Bureau of Standards headquarters in Nairobi in the presence of all parties, including an independent laboratory.

However, DCI, Kebs and KRA officials failed to show up at the Bollore Logistics godown in Changamwe to collect the samples for a re-test.

On Wednesday, DPP Haji said they have appealed Ogembo's orders.

"That is why the DCI, Kebs and KRA officials did not show up. Let me put the records clear, if you keep fertiliser for quite some time, there would be chemical reaction. Therefore, ordering a retest will not give the same results because chemical composition would have changed, and the court has to take that into consideration,” Haji said.

The Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Hajj has insisted that they will oppose any kind of re-testing of the 3,500 tonnes of fertilizer being held in a godown in Mombasa.

The Sh300-million fertilizer consignment, which is being held at Bollore Logistics Company warehouse in Changamwe since June 2018, was impounded on allegations that in contained mercury.

However, OCP Kenya Limited, a Moroccan Company that imported the fertilizer into country on November of 2017, said their product is of high quality and challenged the matter in courts.

A trial Magistrate Court and a High Court sitting in Nairobi issued orders for re-testing of the fertilizers, but the DPP appealed against both decisions.

On February 13, the High Court Judge Ogembo upheld the earlier decision by the Magistrate Court to allow re-testing of the fertilizer samples.

Justice Ogembo ordered the samples to be collected on Thursday (February 14) and re-testing of the samples to be done on Friday (February 15), in Nairobi’s KEBS headquarters in the presence of all interested parties and an Independent Laboratory.

However, DCI, Kebs and KRA officials failed to show up at the Bollore Logistics godown in Changamwe to collect the samples for a re-test.

On Wednesday, DPP Haji said they have appealed Ogembo's orders.

"That is why the DCI, Kebs and KRA officials did not show up. Let me put the records clear, if you keep fertiliser for quite some time, there would be chemical reaction. Therefore, ordering a retest will not give the same results because chemical composition would have changed, and the court has to take that into consideration,” Haji said.