Wide Angle

OCP Kenya vs. authorities : Fresh test on fertilizer to be conducted this week

After accusing two governmental authorities of neglecting a court’s order, OCP Kenya will have its fertilizer tested this week. The decision comes after the OCP branch was accused of importing fertilizers that were allegedly «contaminated».

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After OCP Kenya, a branch of the Office chérifien des phosphates, accused two governmental agencies in Mombasa of neglecting a court's order on the collection of fresh samples of fertilizer believed to «contain an excessive amount of mercury», a court in the east African country rejected the application of the Moroccan firm.

According to Daily Nation, the Kenyan court issued its ruling on Friday, February the 15th, refusing that the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Bernard Nguyo, the acting managing director and chief executive of the Kenya Bureau of Standards be summoned.

In its decision, the Kenyan court ignored OCP Kenya’s application, stressing that «the previous order for the DCI and Kebs officials to go for the tests was erroneous». The court said that the «order was not properly extracted and therefore the DCI could not act on it».

Seeking fresh fertilizer tests

Indeed, the High Court judge Daniel Ogembo had ordered on February the 13th, the two agencies to take fresh samples of the OCP fertilizer, which has been suspected of containing «an excessive amount of mercury».

The decision was taken after OCP Kenya refused the results of the first tests conducted in June 2018, arguing that they «were conducted by a multi-agency team in the absence of the accused persons and that this violated their rights».

According to the Moroccan importer, the two Kenyan agencies did not take fresh samples of its Mombasa plant, as scheduled by the High Court.

The firm’s lawyer Paul Muite said that he «personally visited their offices, they said they had not received instructions from their offices». He explained that all parties showed up on Thursday for the collection of the fresh samples, except DCI and Kebs bosses who refused to «participate to the process», wrote Daily Nation.

Rescheduling the tests

The collection of fresh samples was, however, rescheduled by the same court. The latter «directed that samples be collected on February 20 and the tests to be conducted on February 21», stressing that parties will have to «return to court on March 13 for confirmation of compliance with the orders».

Commenting on the court’s new decision, OCP Kenya’s lawyer said that the officials in question «disobeyed a court order», and that they «should come personally and explain to the court why they are disrespecting the order».

For the record, the issue dates back to June, 2018, when the Kenyan authorities accused OCP fertilizers of being «contaminated or substandard».

In Kenya, former Kebs managing director Charles Ongwae and other Kenyan officials are also «accused of unlawfully releasing 5,846,000 kgs of substandard compound fertilizer, which contained mercury, to OCP-K».

Replying to accusations, OCP said in a statement released in June 2018, that it rejects these claims in their entirety as they reflect neither the commercial practices nor the rigorous quality-assurance processes to which OCP Kenya adheres». The company said that «OCP Kenya complied fully with Kenyan procedures and regulations in place».

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