Detectives grill Kebs bosses over procurement of goods

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 00:00 |
Kebs managing director Bernard Njiraini. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have grilled the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director and over 25 section heads over the procurement and purchase of goods, including fertiliser.

Lt Col (rtd) Bernard Njiraini, who took over in August last year, was the first to be questioned on Monday for hours before he was released at around 11pm.

At least 10 other senior officials including the head of  Testing Department and other laboratory supervisors have also been grilled. The head of the testing section was recently transferred but is yet to move to his new station.

Detectives are investigating how imported goods are inspected and have focused on the electrical, food and agriculture, and the mechanical laboratories. 

Among the issues under investigation is importation of a consignment of fertiliser which was later released to the market. 

Last evening, DCI boss George Kinoti confirmed that he had sent a team to Kebs to undertake some investigations that he declined to specify.

“There are certain grey areas that we have sent a team to verify and if we confirm, then those responsible will have to carry their cross. Our mission is to fight this cancer called corruption,” Kinoti said.

Questions had been raised on the quality of imported goods from other countries even after the standards body implemented the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC).

Kebs implemented the PVoC to Standards Programme for exports to Kenya to ensure the safety and quality of imported goods, and also to protect Kenyan manufacturers from unfair competition.

The current PVoC programme is operated on behalf Kebs by Intertek in parts of Europe including the UK, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

Senior officials at  the standards agency have been grilled in the past over a number of tenders and inspections.

Early December last year, for instance, Kebs, while appearing before a Senate ad hoc committee, said they did not inspect imported medical equipment worth millions of shillings.

Njiraini said the agency did not have the mandate to test the controversial Managed Equipment Services project in which machines worth Sh38 billion were leased to the counties.

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