Kenya Bureau of Standard MD in hot soup over Mercury fertilizer

Counterfeits have over the recent past hit the Kenyan markets with questions on how they enter the country remaining answered. Do you remember the sugar that contained mercury? Do you either remember the plastic rice? Well, Kenya Bureau of Standards acting managing director Benard Nguyo has been summoned to court for disobeying a directive to conduct fresh tests on fertiliser alleged to contain mercury.

The court had directed that fresh samples be taken on February 20 and testing be conducted by Kebs on February 21.

In a brief ruling, senior principal magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot said the MD was aware of the orders issued but chose not to comply.

Kebs MD Charles Ongwae in court on May 25 last year / EZEKIEL AMING’A

Yesterday, the magistrate cited a letter by Kebs head of department of testing Geoffrey Murira who he said was speculating the conditions of the warehouse where the fertiliser is stored. The letter was addressed to Nguyo.

“Murira in the letter speculates that since the fertiliser in question absorbs water, chemical changes are likely to have taken place since the product has been kept in store for long ,” the magistrate said.

He faulted the MD for allowing himself to be misled by Murira to engage in speculation on how the test results might turn out due to the conditions of the warehouse.

In the case, OCP (K), a subsidiary of Moroccan fertiliser company OCP- SA whose directors face charges of attempted murder, said the tests conducted in June last year by a multi-agency team, were done in their absence.

They said this violated their rights to fair administrative action.

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