Suspects in substandard fertilizer case now want it retested for mercury


Suspects in substandard fertilizer case now want it retested for mercury

In Summary

  • The accused persons want orders for a fresh retesting of all the samples done by KEBS in the presence of an independent laboratory as well as by Thornton Laboratories Testing and Inspection Services.
  • In reference to court documents filed by a clearing agent of Bollore Transport, the applicants are seeking the orders on the basis that the previous tests done by the importer and by independent laboratories, Bureau Veritas, Intertek and Cropnuts and KEBS did not reveal the presence of mercury in the fertilizer.

Seven accused persons in the alleged importation of substandard fertilizer on Tuesday made an application in court seeking orders to have a fresh retesting on the fertilizer alleged to have mercury.

Through senior counsel Paul Muite, the accused persons sought orders for a fresh retesting of all the samples done by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in the presence of an independent laboratory and Thornton Laboratories Testing and Inspection Services; a worldwide leading laboratory based in Florida, USA.

In reference to court documents filed by a clearing agent of Bollore Transport, the applicants are seeking the orders on the basis that the previous tests done by the importer and by independent laboratories; Bureau Veritas, Intertek and Cropnuts, and KEBS did not reveal the presence of mercury in the fertilizer.

According to suspects, however, the charges they face are from tests undertaken by KEBS on the fertilizer imported into the country by OCP Kenya Limited which purported to reveal the excessive presence of mercury in the fertilizer.

The applicants allege that the initial test of the samples of the imported fertilizer unilaterally undertaken by KEBS on June 19, 2018 has never been released to OCP Kenya Limited or Bollore Transport.

Counsel Muite, in his submissions, urged trial magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot to allow the application and order the reports to be tabled within 10 days.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, through Samuel Owiti, however opposed the application and urged the court to dismiss the application on the basis that the consignment that was imported by OCP Kenya Limited failed to meet at least four of the thirteen parameters that were tested.

According to the prosecution, the four contentious parameters include nitrogen, sulfur and mercury – which is the subject of the case.

In the case those charged include KEBS MD Charles Ongwae, Bernard Oduor Ngesa, Eric Cheshire Kiprono (Director of Quality Assurance), Peter Kinyanjui (KEBS Inspection Manager), Martin Nyakiamo (KEBS Coast Regional Director), Pole Mwangeni (Kilindini Port Health Officer) and Erick Kariuki Kirimi (KRA Supervisor of Customs).

The court is expected to make a ruling on whether to allow the application on Tuesday January 15, 2019.

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