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Fake fertiliser case pre-trial hearing pushed to June

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 06:15 | By
Josiah Kariuki, director Fifty-One Capital Ltd and SBL Innovate Manufacturers Ltd.
Josiah Kariuki, director Fifty-One Capital Ltd and SBL Innovate Manufacturers Ltd. PHOTO/Print

The Anti-Corruption Court yesterday pushed the pre-trial conference for the  four National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) suspects in the Sh209 million fake fertiliser scam to June 17.

Senior Principal Magistrate Celesa Okore has set the  date for the conference to enable the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to furnish the accused persons with original witness statements and evidence to be relied upon during trial.

This was after the state prosecutor urged the court to give his office a month to enable him  supply all the evidence his office intends to use against the three top officials of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and businessman Josiah Kariuki since the documentary evidence is very bulky.

“We have a prosecutorial bundle which is so bulky and so far we have not been able to photocopy and supply the same to the defense team. We seek a month to comply with the order for the supply of witness statements and documentary evidence before we commence the pretrial conference,” the prosecutor said.

The defence lawyers led by Kimani Wachira, John Kiplagat, and Katwa Kigen representing NCPB Managing Director Joseph Muna Kimote, John Kiplangat Ngetich (Corporate Secretary), and John Mbaya Matiri (General Marketing Manager) and Kariuki, the director of two companies at the center of the fake fertilizer scandal namely Fifty-One Capital Ltd and SBL Innovate Manufacturers Limited told the court that they are yet to supply with all the documentary evidence.

They urged the court to give them two weeks to go through the evidence that the state will supply to them before the pretrial conference can be conducted. “So far only the third person was served with documents on Friday, May 17, 2024, the rest are yet to receive the statements and documentary evidence,” Muna’s lawyer Wachira stated.

As a result, the DPP has been directed to serve the suspects with the latter beginning  today.

In the case, the four suspects have been charged with selling 139,688 bags of fake fertilizer valued at Sh209 million to farmers.

They have denied 10 criminal charges of conspiracy to defraud, abuse of office, forgery, presenting false documents and applying standardized marks to fake fertiliser.

Muna, Kiplangat, Mbaya being top officials of NCPB denied that they jointly with others not before the court conspired with intent to defraud Kenyan farmers and sold a total of 139,688 bags of 25kg each of soil amendment and conditioner valued at Sh209,532,000 purporting it to be a genuine fertilizer a fact they knew to be false.

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