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Tycoon Reveals Damning Evidence Linking CS Linturi And NCPB Boss To Fake Fertilizer Scam

Patel further alleged that he was coerced into writing a letter admitting that they had produced and distributed fake fertilizer while in police detention.

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In a letter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Mohamed Amin, Devesh Patel, the Chief Operations Officer of Kel Chemicals has implicated the Cabinet Secretary for agriculture Mithika Linturi and the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Mr. Joseph Kimote.

Mr. Patel represented by lawyers Dennis Mosota and Ahmednasir claim he was made to issue a statement under duress by the state officials to admit ownership and liability to the fake fertilizer in the wake of the scandal.

The tycoon is now asking the DCI to investigate the officials for their possible crucial roles in the scam, “Further to the foregoing, we feel inclined to suggest that as you assess individual responsibility in the light of an overall evaluation of complicity, the conduct and involvement of Mr. Franklin Mithika Linturi, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and Mr. Joseph Kimote, the Managing Director, National Cereals and Produce Board, should be scrutinized.” reads the letter to the DCI.

In the letter seen by Kenya Insights, Mr. Patel outlines in a timeline of how the two public officers had coerced him into distorting the correct account of what transpired, and to present a counter-narrative whose end was to incriminate him.

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He claim that he was intimidated and threatened by the two officials and, made to absolve other parties that had been adversely mentioned in the scandal.

Timelines

Mr. Patel’s lawyers in the letter outlines the events as follows;

“On 4th April 2024, Mr. Devesh Patel, the Chief Operations Officer of our Client received a call from Mr. Joseph Kimote at around 9:45 am… informing him of the need to prepare a letter to Mems following the press release issued by NCB recalling 3,000 bags of Fertilizer manufactured on 5th March 2024 and of Batch Number 03/2024.
Further, Ms. Lorraine Karani of NCPB at around 11:30 am asking him to report to NCPB Headquarters at 3:30pm.”

Mr. Patel later on received a call from Mr. Collins Ng’etich at around 11:00 am reiterating the same information received from Mr. Joseph Kimote and the importance of having the information of recall of bags of Fertilizer in writing and reporting to NCPB Headquarters with a hard copy of the letter.

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“On 7th April 2024 while at our client’s plant in Thika for the seizure of the goods by DCI, Mr. Devesh received incessant calls of more than 30 calls within an hour from some of the above-mentioned persons (Mr. Kimote and and Mr. Ng’etich) and also from Mr. John Matiri, the General Manager of NCB emphasizing and insisting on the need and importance of him to attend a Press Release at Jacaranda Hotel.”

Mr. Kimote shared with him copies of the Statement he was required to read out at the Press release via Whatsapp and even shared an amended version.
“We note that the content of these Statements directed our client to assume responsibility for the 3,000 bags produced between 5th and 7th March 2024 not meeting the required quality parameters and asking the affected farmers to report to NCB Depots for compensation.”

“He declined to appear at Jacaranda hotel as he was at our client’s plant in Thika with DCI Officers finishing up on the seizure of the bags of Fertilizer.”

The letter adds Linturi, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock made calls to Mr. Patel on 10th April at around 9.30 am directing him that our client is required to attend a press conference at Jacaranda hotel and confirmed the need for him to use the statement as shared with him by Mr. Kimote at the Press Conference.

Mr. Patel declined to appear at Jacaranda hotel which resulted in the hastily planned and convened inspection by the Cabinet Secretary on 12th April 2024 at our client’s plant in Thika and, his subsequent issuance of the orders closing the factory and declaring it a crime scene.

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“You will appreciate the extent of the inability of the two public officers to properly understand and appreciate the true account of facts and exert themselves within the confines of the law. They put a strain on the law in a manner that furthered impunity through manifest lack, fairness, impartiality, and outright manipulation.

The lawyers annexed copies of the call logs generated from our client’s mobile phone in support of the foregoing information in the hope that they may be critical to your ongoing investigations.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, Kel Chemicals Chief Operating Officer (COO) Devesh Patel dragged the names of senior government officials attached to the Office of the President, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) into the scandal.

Patel told the Committee of a high-stakes meeting he allegedly attended with the senior public servants, moments before his unprecedented arrest, alleging that he was arrested and detained at a police station after the meeting ended prematurely.

“While giving my statement, Ms. Esther Ngari kept interrupting me saying that I am making substandard fertiliser. She said she’d close our factories and told Mr. Felix Koskei to punish us,” he said.

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“Thereafter, Koskei did not finish listening to me and instead asked some police to arrest me together with Collins Ng’etich and take me to the DCI headquarters in Kiambu. I was arrested without being informed of the reasons for my arrest, no representation from counsel and I wrote my statement while under duress. I was later released on a 100,000 police bond”.

Patel further alleged that he was coerced into writing a letter admitting that they had produced and distributed fake fertilizer while in police detention.

“I was forced to write a letter indicating that I had recalled the batches of fertilizer,” he said.

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

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Calls for resignation

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In the wake of the scam that has now placed state officials in the middle of it all, legislators have heightened their calls for the resignation of the officials.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has asked President William Ruto to crack the whip on those involved in the supply of fake subsidised fertiliser to prove his commitment to fighting corruption.

Dr Khalwale wondered why the government was taking so long to take action against the people who sabotaged the President’s food security plans when the procurement channels could be followed to get the culprits. He asked the President to sack Mithika Linturi.

“Let President Ruto prove to Kenyans that he is serious about fighting graft by sacking Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi and arresting all those involved in the fake fertiliser scandal,” said Dr Khalwale.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has said that farmers who bought the fake fertiliser will be compensated with top dressing to address nutrient deficiencies on their farms.

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The Senate summoned CS Linturi, his Trade counterpart Rebecca Miano and officials from the National Cereal and Produce Board, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the National Environment Management Authority and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to explain why adulterated fertiliser was being distributed at government depots.

The committee, chaired by Mr Kamau Murango, cautioned that the supply of fake farm inputs to farmers was tantamount to economic sabotage or terrorism and that all perpetrators should be brought to book to face the full wrath of the law.


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