NCPB officials charged over fake fertilizer

Three National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) officials were yesterday charged at the Milimani Anti-corruption Court for allegedly manufacturing, distributing and selling substandard fertilizer.

Joseph Muna Kimote (NCPB Managing Director), John Kiplangat Ngetich (NCPB Corporate Secretary), and John Mbaya Matiri (NCPB Chairman Business committee) together with others not before court, were charged that on diverse dates between 17th March 2022 and 8th March 2024 with the intent to defraud Kenyan farmers, sold a total of 139, 688 bags of 25 kg each of soil amendment and conditioner valued at Kshs. 209,532,000 Million purporting to be genuine fertilizer, a fact they knew was false.

They are charged with 10 counts of economic crimes, including conspiracy to defraud, forgery, uttering false documents, applying a standardization mark to a commodity that does not comply with Kenyan standards and abuse of office.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on a cash bail of Kshs. 1 Million or a bond of Kshs. 3 Million and a surety of a similar amount each. While delivering her ruling, Principal Magistrate Hon.Celesa A. Okore ordered the accused persons to deposit their travel documents with the court and notify the court whenever they intend to travel outside of the court’s jurisdiction.

The prosecution through Evelyn Onunga had opposed their release on bail, citing the seriousness of the offences, the strength of the evidence, and the severity of the punishment in the event of a conviction.

The court ordered Josiah Kariuki Kimani, a suspect who failed to appear in court, to attend on 6th of May 2024 for plea-taking failure to which a warrant of arrest will be issued against him.

The case is scheduled for a pre-trial on 20th May 2024.

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