CS Linturi under scrutiny as staff quizzed over Sh209 million fake fertiliser scandal

At least 10 staff at the Ministry of Agriculture’s procurement department have recorded statements with the DCI over the Sh 209 million fake fertiliser scandal.

The 10 have been recording their statements with investigators from the DCI Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit (ECCU) since last Friday.

The staff were questioned on the tendering and procurement at Kilimo house.

The procurement officials were summoned to appear before the DCI investigators last week.

They were also directed to provide documents relating to the procurement of the fertiliser in an effort to unravel how farmers were supplied with soil conditioner disguised as organic fertiliser.

Sources familiar with the investigations on Monday told the Nation that focus has now shifted to senior officials at the Ministry who include the PS and Cabine Secretary Mithika Linturi.

Linturi recently survived a bid to impeach him by Parliament over the fertiliser scandal.

Read: Questions over Sh12 billion looted in State fertiliser gravy train

A select committee formed to investigate him after majority of MPs had voted for the motion ruled there was no evidence of wrong doing against the minister.

The committee also rejected attempts to have the PS testify.

In the ongoing DCI probe,the CS and PS are, however, not being treated as suspects at this point of the investigations.

Detectives at the ECCU have so far questioned about 15 officials from Kilimo house and Government ware house in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Also lined up for questioning are Kenya Bureau of Standards staff who inspected the fertiliser before it was released to farmers.

“We are still analysing the statements recorded so far before we can decide on whom else will records a statement,“ said a senior official familiar with the investigations.

Businessman Josiah Kariuki Kimani has denied seven charges leveled against him arising from claims his two companies supplied soil disguised as fertiliser. He was arraigned before a Nairobi court.

Read: From frogs, rats to fake fertiliser… We are 60 years in the sleaze valley

The prosecution alleged that Kariuki, together with others not before the court, conspired to deceive Kenya Bureau of Standard Nakuru officers.

The court heard that Kariuki , forged an agreements of value-adding  soil amendment and conditioner to organic fertilizer and animal supplement purporting  it to be genuine and valid agreements signed between his companies and KBS.

He was also accused of forging a standardization mark number 14617 in the name of 51 Capital. African Diatomite K limited purporting it to be genuine standardisation mark by KBS.

Three senior officials at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) have also been arrested and charged in court over the distribution of sub-standard fertiliser. 

Managing Director Joseph Kimote, Corporate Secretary John Ng’etich and Marketing boss John Matiri were arrested by DCI investigators and locked up after DPP approved their prosecution.

DPP Renson Ingoga at the time said in a statement said the three would be charged alongside senior officials from private firms involved in the distribution of the fertilizer. 

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