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8 suspects linked to subsidised fertiliser theft arraigned in court

Eight suspects linked to the theft of subsidised fertiliser that occurred in mid-April were on Wednesday, May 31 arraigned in court.

The eight, identified as Joseph Muthama, Stanely Muthama, Martin Munyao, Joseph Muthama, Eric Ng’ang’a, Fredrick Gateri, Anthony Ngei and Beatrice Mwikali, were arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In a statement, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said they pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit an offence contrary to Section 393 of the Penal Code and theft of goods in transit contrary to Section 297 of the Penal Code.

“They were arraigned at the Milimani Magistrate’s Court after a meticulous investigation by detectives from the DCI Operations Unit,” the statement read in part.

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The DCI further said the eight suspects took advantage of the government’s ongoing efforts to help farmers access fertiliser at reduced cost and diverted the commodity to an unknown destination.

According to the statement, the disappearance of the fertiliser was first reported at Mikindani Police Station under Occurrence Book (OB) number 31/4/5/2023 by Kenya National Trading Company (KNTC) logistics officer Mr Moses Kata, who is based in Mombasa County.

“The company had contracted Yellow Arrow Express Limited to deliver 281 tonnes, equivalent to 5,620 bags of 50kg each of the subsidised fertiliser from warehouses in Mombasa to various destinations in the country,” the statement read.

“The consignment was transported in 10 trucks but only two trucks delivered the fertiliser to its intended destinations in Kericho and Ol Moran, Laikipia County, while the remaining 8 trucks diverted 4,520 bags to an unknown destination,” it added.

On April 29, the DCI revealed that they became aware of the missing fertilizer when the logistics manager at KNTC was notified that a shipment of 560 bags, dispatched on April 27, intended for delivery to the National Cereals and Produce Board in Lessos, Nandi County, had not reached its destination.

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Upon investigation, it was discovered that the driver responsible for transporting the fertilizer had been apprehended. In his statement to the DCI, he confessed that he had received a phone call from an unidentified individual who claimed to be an agent of KNTC. This caller instructed him to make a stop at a shopping center located 25 kilometers away from Lessos.

“The consignment was unloaded and loaded into two waiting trucks after the delivery order was stamped with a KNTC Eldoret receiver stamp before the trucks left for an unknown destination,” the statement added.

Investigators are still on the hunt for the missing 4,520 bags whose whereabouts remain a mystery.

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