MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 14 – The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) have been accused of defying court orders.
The orders were issued by High Court judge Daniel Ogembo who directed the DCI, KEBS and KRA to re-test 3,500 tonnes of fertilizers impounded in Mombasa last June for allegedly containing mercury.
The Sh300 million consignment that was being imported into the country by a Moroccan company, OCP Kenya Limited, was being held at Bollore Logistics Company warehouse in Changamwe, Mombasa for the past six months.
Lawyer Paul Muite, who is representing the importer and 10 other people who were arrested and charged in connection with the fertilizer accused the DCI and KEBS of frustrating his clients.
Former KEBS Managing Director Charles Ongwae and nine other individuals were arrested in June last year after the DPP said they had allowed the sub-standard fertilizer into the market.
The godown has been under lock-and-key since June 19.
On Thursday, Muite told journalists in Mombasa that he filed a case in court asking KEBS to do a re-test on the impounded fertilizer but the prosecution side has since been frustrating them.
Muite said the trial Magistrate’s Court had issued orders allowing KEBS to re-test the consignment, but the DPP appealed against the case at the High Court.
On Wednesday, High Court Judge Ogembo upheld the earlier decision by the Magistrate’s Court to allow re-testing of the fertilizer samples.
Justice Ogembo ordered the samples to be collected on February 14 and re-testing of the samples to be done on Friday (February 15), in Nairobi’s KEBS headquarters in the presence of all interested parties and an independent laboratory.
However, on Thursday the DCI, KEBS and KRA officials failed to show up at the Bollore Logistics godown in Changamwe area to collect the samples for a re-test.
Muite said he decided to personally go to the DCI, KEBS and KRA regional offices in Mombasa, but the officials in those offices said they had not received communications from Nairobi.
“When we went to the offices of KEBS and the DCI here in this region, there position was that they had not received any directive from Nairobi. The KRA office said they could cooperate, but they would only open their seals if DCI allowed them to proceed because the area is a crime scene,” said Muite.
“We have been here since morning, but DCI and KEBS are really frustrating us. This is brazen arrogant contempt of court,” said Muite.
According to the veteran lawyer, who said he has been in practice for the past 48 years, Kenyan farmers are currently facing a shortage of fertilizer and the government has illegally impounded over 3,500 bags of fertilizers in a godown in Mombasa.