SBL and Fifty-One Capital Ltd director released on bail in fertilizer scandal case

SBL Innovate Manufacturers Limited and Fifty-One Capital Limited director Josiah Kariuki Kimani in court. PHOTO/Suek.

SBL and Fifty-One Capital Limited director Josiah Kariuki Kimani has been released on a cash bail of Sh 2 million.

Principal Magistrate Celesa Asis Okore also gave Kimani an option to deposit a bond of Sh 5 million plus one surety of a similar amount.

The businessman man who had spent a day in custody after pleading not guilty to charges relating to the sale of fake fertilizer had asked the court to release him on lenient bail terms since he is charged alongside his two offices.

The prosecution had opposed his release on bail on grounds that he had failed to attend court when his co-accused persons were pleading to the charges.

In addition, the prosecution had also claimed that his life was in danger since the issue of fake fertilizer has angered members of the public.

However, Kimani, through his lawyers told the court that his client has been with the said members of the public and he has not been under threat.

Kariuki is charged alongside National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) officials Joseph Muna Kimote, John Kiplangat Ng’etich and John Mbaya Matiri.

In addition, SBL Innovate Manufacturers Limited and Fifty-One (K) Capital Limited are also listed as accused persons.

The accused persons are accused of conspiring to defraud Kenyan farmers by selling a total of 139,688 bags of 25 Kgs each  of soil amendment and Conditioner valued at Sh 209,532,000 purporting it to be a genuine fertilizer, a fact they knew to be false.

Kimani is also accused of forging an agreement namely value adding soil amendment and conditioner to organic fertilizer and animal supplement purporting it to be a genuine valid agreement signed between SBL Innovate manufacturers Ltd and African Diatomite Industries Limited.

It is alleged that Kimani committed the 12th January, 2023 at an unknown place within the Republic of Kenya jointly with others not before court with intent to deceive Kenya Bureau of Standards Nakuru Region.

The businessman is also charged with forging a Kenya Bureau of Standards Permit to use standardization mark number 14617 in the name of 51 Capital, African Diatomite Industries K Limited  purporting it to be a genuine permit to use standardization mark issued by KEBS.

Kimote, Ng’etich and Matiri NCPB’s Managing Director, Cooperate Secretary and the Chairman of the business development and advisory committee respectively are further facing charges of abuse of office.