KEBS boss to face charges including attempted murder

KEBS boss to face charges including attempted murder

Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director Charles Ongwae and other top KEBS officials are set to be charged with with several offences among them attempted murder, over the importation of substandard goods into the country.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji on Friday said investigations had revealed that KEBS officials were complicit in the importation of sub-standard fertilizer and fake import standardization mark (ISM) stickers.

According to the DPP, a company identified as OCP Kenya Ltd imported 5.8 million kilograms of compound fertilizer from Morocco, which upon two rounds of testing by KEBS was found to be substandard therefore declared as rejected.

“The company appealed against the first testing, whereupon a re-testing was done by KEBS. The compound fertilizer failed to meet the standard yet again.

“That notwithstanding, the fertilizer was released into the market as opposed to destruction or re-shipping to the country of origin,” said the DPP in a press statement.

Other KEBS officials implicated in the fertilizer scandal include Eric Chesire Kiptoo (Director, Quality Assurance), Peter Kinyanjui (Inspection Manager, Kilindini Port), Martin Muswanya Nyakiamo (Coast Region Manager, KEBS) and Pole Mwangeni (Port Health Officer Kilindini).

The said KEBS officials and Directors of OCP Kenya Ltd will face charges including attempted murder, aiding the commission of a felony, abuse of office, breach of trust and selling substandard goods.

The DPP further noted that KEBS hired a company, M/s Madras Private Security Ltd, to supply import standardization mark stickers with high quality security features and traceability to the KEBS database, however, the marks supplied were of poor quality and easy to forge.

“The mark supplied has been found to be prone to photocopying, scanning and misuse by unscrupulous traders thereby defeating the purpose of its procurement,” said the DPP.

The government spent over Ksh.800 million for the supply of the standardization mark over a period of three years.

“Upon review of the files, we have established that there is Criminal Culpability on the part of KEBS officials entrusted with the mandate of monitoring and control of standards,” added the DPP.

On the ISM sticker case, the officials and directors of the said company will be charged with conspiracy to defraud, breach of trust, abuse of office and cheating.

Mr. Ongwae and 10 other KEBS officials were arrested on Friday and are set to be arraigned in court on Monday. They are also facing separate charges over the importation of contraband sugar.