Detectives from the Serious Crimes Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) yesterday recovered over 1,700 bales of stolen Kenya Seed Company’s, hybrid Maize certified seeds, valued at over KShs. 7 Million from a private warehouse in Narok.
In what the serious crimes busters described as a well-coordinated syndicate, involving a store supervisor at Narok’s Kenya Seed Company Branch, Brian Meja and two Narok-based unscrupulous traders of Asian origin only known as Yogesh and Gaurav, they raided a facility leased by Meja a distance from Kenya Seed’s main godown, where the recovery was made.
This comes amidst complains by farmers that seeds from the company have been having a low germination rate.
Detectives uncovered that the stolen high yielding seeds of variety 6213, are transported in two Probox vehicles daily and held at Meja’s store temporarily before being moved to establishments owned by the two fraudsters. Approximately, 40 bales each containing 12 packets of 2 kilogrames per packet, have been supplied daily to the two unscrupulous traders since last December.
Yogesh who owns Shakti Farm products and Ololulunga Shiv Agrovets in Lulunga town has one other godown within Narok town that has currently stored over 10 tonnes of stolen seeds. His fellow suspect Gurav operates Sai Agrovet in Bomet.
Preliminary investigations indicate that in a bid to rake in more profits at the expense of poor farmers, the crooked traders package ordinary coloured maize grains, disguised as genuine high yielding, Kenya Seed’s variety 6213. They then sell it exorbitantly to unsuspecting farmers, who end up with poor yields after planting and incurring high input costs trying to improve the crop.
DCI says samples of the recovered seeds will be subjected to forensic analysis with experts drawn from DCI Forensic Lab, the Government Chemist, Kenya Bureau of Standards and other relevant government agencies to strengthen the case against the fraudsters. Further, detectives from the Serious Crimes Unit augmented by other relevant investigative units will visit the Kenya Seed Company Limited to among others ascertain how the genuine, certified seeds are graded and packaged as opposed to the ones packaged by the suspects.