Kenya: ‘Mercury Fertiliser’ – Kebs MD Ordered to Carry Out Fresh Tests


A court on Wednesday ordered Bernard Nguyo, the acting Managing Director of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), to carry out fresh mercury tests on fertiliser shipped into Kenya two years ago.

Formers Kebs MD Charles Ongwae and other government officials are accused of unlawfully releasing to OCP-K Limited, 5,846,000 kilogrammes of substandard compound fertiliser which contained mercury.

OCP-K shipped the fertiliser into Kenya in November 2017 but some is being held at Ballore Transport and Logistics’ warehouse in Mombasa, awaiting establishment of whether it contains the chemical element.

Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot issued the fresh order when Mr Nguyo appeared in court in person, having failed to do so on Tuesday.

Mr Cheruiyot directed that samples be collected on March 26 and the retesting be done the following day.

BREACH

When Mr Nguyo skipped court on Tuesday, and sent his lawyer Jotham Arwa to represent him, Mr Cheruiyot warned that he would issue a warrant for his arrest if he did not appear on Wednesday.

The acting MD was summoned last week to explain breach of an order on the fresh sampling and testing of the fertiliser.

The lawyer explained that Mr Nguyo was yet to be served with the summons but had received a letter from Senior Counsel Paul Muite explaining why he was required in court.

In a short ruling, Mr Cheruiyot noted that disobeying court orders not only offends the dignity of the court but also challenges the supremacy of the law.

He, however, said there was no evidence that Mr Nguyo was served with the summons although it was clear that he was aware of the same.

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Publish date : 2019-03-14 08:49:10

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