A third individual has been formally accused of the theft of subsidized fertilizer, as the government takes decisive action against both officials and cartels operating within the agriculture sector.
In a Nairobi court, Farmer Hillary Samoei faced charges related to a scheme to defraud the government of subsidized fertilizer, amounting to Sh7 million in fictitious transactions. He was additionally charged with deceit and providing false information to obtain the fertilizer intended for legitimate farmers.
The prosecution asserted that Samoei collaborated with others (not present in court) to defraud the government of 2,398 bags of subsidized fertilizer, each weighing 50kg and valued at Sh7,063,000. The alleged offense took place between March 10 and November 21, 2023.
Samoei faced a second charge for falsely claiming ownership of a 300-acre plot in the Ololung'a area of Narok South subcounty, where he purportedly engaged in crop farming to fraudulently secure the aforementioned 2,398 bags of fertilizer.
During the hearing before Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina, Samoei pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer, Danstan Omari, sought leniency in bail, citing Samoei's impoverished background.
The magistrate granted Samoei a cash bail of Sh500,000, a more lenient condition compared to the Sh1.5 million bail set for others previously charged with the same theft.
While state counsels did not oppose the bail application, they informed the court that Samoei's case would be consolidated with similar ones. Onyina directed the case to be mentioned on January 16 for further proceedings.
Previously charged individuals include two public officers, Kiprotich Ronald Tonui and Edwin Ombui Oseko, accused of conspiring to defraud the government of Sh49 million in subsidized fertilizer deals. Both have denied the charges.
The charges against Tonui and Oseko involve the alleged conspiracy to defraud the government of 19,913 bags of 50kg subsidized fertilizer valued at Sh49,787,500. They are also accused of abuse of office in recommending the registration of farmers with inflated land sizes, leading to the fraudulent redemption of subsidized fertilizer.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations is intensifying its probe into fraudulent claims of fertilizer by farmers at the Ministry of Agriculture, examining the register of registered farmers and their requests for subsidized fertilizer.
Director of Public Prosecutions Renson Igonga emphasized that those involved in the Sh500 million fertilizer theft would be held accountable regardless of their regional or community affiliations. Igonga asserted that the subsidy was intended for farmers, not for theft, and lamented the loss of half a billion shillings during the scand