Police summon NCPB, Kebs officials over fake fertilizer

The team intends to raise the issue to higher authorities before submitting report to DPP.

In Summary
  • The team plans to escalate the matter to any level before they send their file to the Director of Public Prosecution with various recommendations.
  • Officials said they had summoned all those bearing responsibility for the acquisition and supply of the fertilizer.
A bag suspected to contain fake fertilizer.
A bag suspected to contain fake fertilizer.

Detectives have summoned several officials from government agencies responsible for handling the distribution of fake fertilizer.

The first group to undergo questioning, from Friday through Sunday, included representatives from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) and suppliers.

Those from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) are expected at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI)  headquarters, Kiambu Road for grilling on Monday April 8.

Officials said they had summoned all those bearing responsibility for the acquisition and supply of the fertilizer.

This includes the testing processes.

The team intends to raise the issue to higher authorities before submitting their report to the Director of Public Prosecutions along with several recommendations.

Learning he was wanted over the saga, a Kenyan-based regional fertilizer merchant Josiah Kariuki rushed to court and obtained an order to stop police from arresting and detaining him

His firm has been linked to some of the fake fertilizer in circulation.

Justice Diana Kavedza last week issued the order following an application made in court by Kariuki.

Kariuki is the Chief Executive officer of Silica Booster Limited Innovate Manufacturers (SBL).

Through advocates by Danstan Omari, Cliff Ombeta, Sam Nyaberi and Wycliffe Omaiyo, Kariuki told the court that there have been reports of their client's impending arrest on suspicion that he is the one who has been distributing the fake fertilizer despite the product having been approved by the KeBS.

He urged the court to intervene and prevent his unjustified arrest by granting him anticipatory bail. Justice Kavedza in granting him anticipatory bail of Sh100,000 certified his matter as urgent.

The judge however said the DCI, Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions are at liberty to investigate or charge him for any criminal conduct.

"However they shall not arrest or detain him based on the anticipatory bail given by this court," said the Judge.

She further directed his advocates to escort him to the offices of DCI for questioning within the next seven days.

"Upon conclusion of the probe, the DPP is at liberty to present any charge against him. And the investigating officer is at liberty to present any charge against him. And notify him to appear before the relevant court for plea taking," she said.

Once the accused is arraigned in court, Kavedza said her orders will automatically lapse and the trial court will be at liberty to set new terms of bail.

The Ministry of Agriculture on Friday  said they had completed the testing on all fertilizers being distributed under the subsidy programme.

According to a statement, all distributed fertilizers meet quality standards except those produced and distributed by Ms. KEL Chemicals under the brands Kelphos Plus, Kelphos Gold, and NPK 10:26:10.

These particular products did not meet all the necessary test parameters.

“This consignment affected KEL Chemical fertilizers distributed between March 5 and 10, 2024,” the statement said.

Following the release of test results by KeBS, the statement added, the government has taken decisive action to safeguard the agricultural sector and farmers by announcing the immediate suspension of KEL Chemicals' operations and seizure of its fertilizer products.

“The government has further seized and impounded all fertilizer stocks distributed by KEL Chemicals at the National Cereals Produce Board (NCPB) facilities.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry has instructed the NCPB to replace all the low-quality fertilizers given to farmers as it intensifies its investigation into the counterfeit fertilizer issue.

]Agriculture Principal Secretary Paul Ronoh has confirmed intentions for a comprehensive examination of the entire fertilizer supply chain, cautioning that strict legal measures will be taken against anyone found responsible.

"We are going to replace the fertilizer with the right fertiliser because it is under investigation for the farmers who have used the fertilisers already we have also analysed the missing component in those fertilisers which shall be addressed by top dressing fertilisers," said Ronoh.

On the magnitude of the impact, he said: "The impact is very negligible, very insignificant because we arrested this very early. These are the counties, which started planting in March counties in the South Rift or North Rift."


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