Gov’t orders arrest of CS Linturi, PS Ronoh over fake fertilizer

Detectives are currently in search of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi and his Principal Secretary Paul Ronoh for the purpose of arrest and prosecution.

This action follows the approval of charges by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution against the aforementioned individuals.

It has been reported that the two, along with five other senior officials, including those from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), were allegedly summoned for further processing.

“We are looking for them. They were supposed to come here after being summoned but we are now looking for them,” said an official aware of the issue.

It is alleged that NCPB Managing Director Joseph Kimote is among those to be arrested again.

This is a separate file which is being investigated.

The DCI has opened nine separate files into the saga.

They were expected at the DCI headquarters in Nairobi for processing.

Linturi is purportedly among those grilled by police over the manufacturing, distribution and sale of substandard fertilizer to farmers under the fertilizer subsidy programme.

He met police in his office last Friday during which he was grilled for up to two hours, officials said.

Sources aware of the grilling said Linturi who was accompanied by his advisers and legal team denied any role in the scam.

He told the police his role is policy and he is not involved in procurement at all.

The detectives are still pursuing the matter and more grilling sessions are planned for those mentioned.

The ODPP had directed the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to carry out comprehensive and thorough investigations regarding the manufacturing, distribution and sale of substandard fertilizer to farmers under the fertilizer subsidy programme.

Director of Public Prosecution Mulele Ingonga approved the charges for the first group of those implicated in the scam.

Linturi is allegedly facing an impeachment motion in Parliament.

Linturi has been adversely mentioned in the alleged scam but he denies any role.

He has linked the saga to politics.

For instance, appearing before the National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, Kel Chemicals Chief Operating Officer (COO) Devesh Patel dragged the names of senior government officials including Linturi into the scandal.

The damning allegations from Patel came barely a week after Kel Chemical’s factory was inspected and later closed by Linturi over alleged involvement in the fake fertilizer scandal.

The Ministry of Agriculture said they had completed the testing on all fertilizers being distributed under the subsidy programme.

A statement said all fertilizers being distributed meet the required quality requirements except those manufactured and distributed by Ms KEL Chemicals-branded Kelphos Plus, Kelphos gold and NPK 10:26:10, which did not meet all required test parameters.

The ministry told farmers who have acquired or possess fertilizer from KEL Chemicals to immediately discontinue its use and to visit their nearest NCPB facility for further guidance.

The Ministry of Agriculture has in the meantime directed NCPB to replace all the substandard fertilizers that were distributed to farmers as it escalates the probe into the fake fertilizer scandal.

The first group of suspects to be charged was arrested ahead of their planned arraignment on Thursday.

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