The world’s largest fertilizer distributor, OCP has refuted claims made against it and its directors concerning its importation of fertilizers to Kenya that were allegedly non-compliant with Kenyan regulatory standards.
In a statement, the exporter rejected the claims stating that they complied fully with Kenyan procedures and regulation in connection with the cargo targeted by this action. They added that the allegations neither reflected the commercial practices nor the rigorous quality assurance processes to which OCP Kenya adheres to.
Last January, the Moroccan owned company is alleged to have imported compound fertilizer weighing six million kilograms which upon testing, failed to meet Kenya’s standardization mark. This has brought a lot of trouble for Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) for clearing the Sh1.4 bn worth of fertilizer.
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Expenditure on farm inputs increased by 14 per cent from Sh58bn in 2016 to Sh66.1bn in 2017 according to the 2018 economic survey report
In this, expenditure on fertilizers, fuel and power accounted for more than half of the total expenditure on agricultural inputs during the review period.
Purchases of seeds and manufactured feeds increased by 23.9 per cent and 10.3 per cent, respectively in 2017
OCP Kenya directors alongside Charles Ongwae KEBS Managing Director and other officials were over the weekend charged with attempted murder, aiding the commission of a felony, abuse of office, breach of office and selling substandard goods.
According to the Director of public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, after the fertilizer was tested the first time, it failed to meet the standard set by KEBS VIDE KS 158:2012 and therefore declared rejected. The company appealed against the first testing and a re-test was done by KEBS.
The compound fertilizer failed to meet the standard for the second time. However, after all the failed tests, the fertilizer was still released to the market as opposed to destruction or re-shipping to the country of origin.
In its defense, OCP stated that, “the full compliance of this cargo with such procedures and regulations has been indisputably confirmed by independent expert analyses performed by several internationally renowned inspection agencies like SGS, Bureau Veritas and Cropnuts”.
Other facing the charges include KEBS Director of Quality Assurance Eric Chesire, Chief Manager Inspection Eric Ochieng and seven other senior individuals for approving the importation of substandard fertilizer and fake Import Standardization Mark (ISM MARK).
These officials are facing prosecution over procurement of fake ISM stickers as they had been procured by KEBS from M/s Madras Private Security Limited. The mark supplied was found to be prone to photocopying, scanning and misuse by corrupt traders hence defeating the purpose of its procurement. This means that KEBS committed the government to the payment of over Sh800 million for the supply of the mark.
In its statement, OCP Kenya stated that the new customized fertilizer introduced to the country has been very successful. The micronutrient enriched products have been adapted to local soils and crops through research collaboration with Kenyan laboratories. The customized fertilizers have demonstrated their positive yields on farmers in terms of yield and competitiveness.
It continues to state that OCP group continuously observes the highest national and international legal standards and best practices in its operations worldwide. This is evidenced by its activities on the ground and Kenya is no exception as the company has a mission to continuously act for the benefit of Kenyan agricultural development.
“While we intend to actively and fully cooperate with the Kenyan authorities in connection with this matter, we reserve our rights to take legal action against the parties behind these baseless and opportunistic accusations,” said the statement.