Ex-MD, top Kebs staff grilled over bad imports

Suspended Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) senior officials were yesterday questioned over seized suspected bad rice and spaghetti in the ongoing purge on contraband goods.

The officials were summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters where they spent the better part of the day.

Yesterday was the second day they appeared before the detectives on the issue after spending time at DCI on Friday.

Among those who were at the DCI include suspended Managing director Charles Ongwae, Eric Chesire Kiptoo, the director of quality assurance Erick Ochieng’ and three others.

Sources indicated that the officials were questioned on their possible role in the importation of the foodstuff on December 17, 2017 from Morocco.

This was after some officials stationed at the Mombasa Port had claimed in their statements they had declined to clear the queried cargo but were overruled by the headquarters. The rice is being held at the port.

DCI George Kinoti said he will comment when the probe is complete. The detectives handling the matter said they would forward their files to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for action after the probe is complete.

“We will send them probably by next week because we have covered much of ground work,” said an officer aware of the progress.

We would not get the officials’ comments as their mobile phones were switched off for the better part of the day but are are likely to face more charges, if the DPP approves the DCI recommendations.

Ongwae and his fellow managers had on June 25 denied charges of attempted murder for importing fertiliser said to contain mercury.

They also denied charges of abuse of office, commission of a felony and breach of trust were each released on Sh15 million bond.

Others charged included the inspection manager at the Kilindini Port Peter Kinyanjui, Kebs Coast regional manager Martin Musyanya, Kilindini Port Health officer Pole Mwangemi, Kenya Revenue Authority supervisor of customs Erick Kariuki and a clearing agent with Bolloré Transport and Logistics Kenya Ltd Benson Oduor.

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