KEBS boss Ongwae, 9 senior officials arrested over fake fertilizers, contraband goods

June 22, 2018 7:20 pm
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Those with Ongwae at DCI include KEBS Quality Assurance boss Eric Chesire, Chief Manager Inspection Eric Ochieng and 7 other individuals/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22- Top Kenya Bureau of Standards officials including the Managing Director Charles Ongwae and 9 others have been arrested over poor quality Standardization Mark, fake fertilizers, contraband sugar and other goods seized across the country.

Those with Ongwae at DCI include KEBS Quality Assurance boss Eric Chesire, Chief Manager Inspection Eric Ochieng and 7 other senior individuals.

They are currently at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations being interrogated over the scandal that has raised fears of Kenyans health and its negative impact on the economy.

The arrests come a few hours after the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji accused KEBS of failing to adhere to acceptable standards in clearing impounded sugar which is said to contain high levels of harmful chemicals.

He said this when he appeared before the National Assembly and Legal Affairs Committee.

But Ongwae had earlier told the National Assembly Trade Committee that the contraband sugar did not have traces of mercury, contradicting Interior CS Fred Matiangi’s report.

“The sugar samples were tested against EAS 749:210, the sugar samples were further tested for heavy metals contaminants as a result of public outcry and no mercury was detected. I want to be very specific that no mercury has been detected in the samples that we have tested,” Ongwae said.

“For sugar to be cleared at the point of entry, the following government agencies must approve release based on their individual requirements. The KRA for customs and tax issues, KEBS for quality, Port health for food safety, Sugar directorate top confirm that they actually issued that license and the radiation protection board for safety and the Kenya Port Authority for logistics.”

According to detectives, the real sugar barons are highly networked, some within the agencies supposed to stop the menace like the Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Revenue Authority and police.

On Thursday, a senior detective involved in the ongoing crackdown told Capital FM News that there are looming changes in the management of the country’s points of entry that will be largely informed by the outcome of an ongoing scrutiny by a team of National Intelligence Service officers.

The casualties of ongoing probe headed by a specially trained spy team will be Government officials among them security officers who have been helping scrupulous business people to evade tax while turning a blind eye to contraband goods.

READ: Looming changes at points of entry as NIS closes in on corrupt officials

“Heads will roll,” the officer who spoke on anonymity grounds said.

Tonnes of sugar and other contrabands have been seized from various warehouses across the country.

Some of the consumable products seized are contaminated according to the government.

Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed has since assured Kenyans that there was no sugar laced with mercury as earlier stated by his interior counterpart Matiangi.

The police insist that the sugar was contaminated with mercury, lead and copper.

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