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Kebs boss to be charged today over fake products

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director Charles Ongwae and other top officials will be arraigned this morning and charged with several of offences, including importation of contraband goods.

Ongwae, alongside Kebs Quality Assurance boss Eric Chesire, chief manager Inspection Eric Ochieng’ and seven others were arrested on Friday and taken to Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters for questioning.

This, as four Cabinet secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), Adan Mohammed (Trade and Industry) and Henry Rotich (Treasury) are expected to appear before the joint House team probing the contraband sugar.

The four are expected to shed light on how contaminated sugar found its way into the country.

The joint departmental committees of Agriculture and Trade co-chaired by Adan Ali and Kanini Kega last week assured Kenyans that investigations into the matter will be concluded within one week and a report tabled in the National Assembly for debate.

“Within a week, we will give Kenyans a report that they have been yearning for on whether the sugar they have been taking is safe for consumption or not,” Kega said.

Besides the four CSs, the two committees will also be meeting Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale and Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda.

Duale is expected to shed light on the lists of companies that he tabled in the National Assembly last week while Lesuuda is to give more details about her statement on the matter that prompted the House to commence investigations into the scandal.

Others expected to appear before the committee this week include all companies alleged to have been involved in the importation including Jaswinder Rai, the owner of Rai Industries and Diamond Wholesalers.

It is also in the committee’s itinerary to make a field visit tomorrow and Wednesday to all areas where the sugar is being held including Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret as well as at the DCI office.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji on Friday said investigations had revealed that Kebs officials were complicit in the importation of sub-standard fertiliser and fake Import Standardisation Mark (ISM) stickers.

Haji said a company identified as OCP Kenya Ltd imported 5.8 million kilogrammes of compound fertiliser from Morocco, which was released to the market despite failing repeated quality tests. However, OCP has rejected the claims.

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