(Update) Ex-Kebs MD Bernard Njiraini, seven others charged over release and sale of bad sugar

UPDATE: Kebs MD Bernard Njiraini and seven others were freed on a cash bail of KES 400,000 in the KES 20 million condemned sugar theft case.

Former Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Managing Director Bernard Njiru Njiraini and seven others were on Monday charged before Milimani law courts over the disappearance and illegal sale of the condemned sugar.

This comes after the Directorate of Public Prosecutions received the files from the investigations of the sugar scam in which officials from Kebsa and the Kenya Revenue Authority among other agencies were implicated.

On Wednesday last week, Civil Service boss Felix Koskei announced the suspension of 27 officials from Kebs, KRA, National Police Service (NPS), DCI and Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to pave way for investigations into the irregular release of the condemned sugar.

The suspended officials from Kebs include; Njiraini, Dr Geoffrey Muriira (Director of Quality Assurance and Inspection), Hilda Keror (Manager Inspection, Mombasa Port Office), Liston Lagat (Assistant Manager, ICDN Nairobi), Stephen Owuor (Principal Officer) and Peter Olima Joseph (Inspector, Mombasa).

Those affected in KRA include; Joseph Kaguru, Mwanja Masinde, Stephen Muiruri, Moses Okoth, Doris Mutembei, Chacha Hondo, Carol Nyagechi and Derick Kago.

The AFA officials were Oscar Kai and Patrick Magut.

Other officials from security agencies who were part of an inter-agency team that handled the sugar and were also suspended include George Mithamo and Joel Kirui from NPS and Benard Ngumbi and Raphael Mwaka from DCI, Joseph Maita Mweni (Port Health) and Isackop Bonai (Nema), Stephen Cheruiyot (Anti-Counterfeiting Authority), Daniel Ngugi (KEPHIS), Willy Koskei (EACC) and Edwin Ruto (KPA).

The sugar – 20,000 bags of sugar, each weighing 50 kilograms – had been imported into the country in 2018 and condemned by the KEB for lack of an expiry date. The agency then ordered them to be re-shipped or destroyed at the owner’s expense.

However, “in fulfillment of its statutory mandate, the Kebs National Standards Council approved the destruction by conversion of the consignment for industrial ethanol use,” Koskei said in a statement last week.

Photo by Richard Munguti

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