LSK Reopens Fake Fertiliser Case Against CS Mithika Linturi

June 5, 2024

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi remains entangled in the fake fertilizer saga.

A parliamentary select committee had previously exonerated the CS after hearing a motion filed by Bumula MP Jack Wamboka to remove him from office.

However, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has now taken the minister to court, arguing that he is responsible for the National Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (NFSP) debacle.

LSK’s lawyer, Okoth Ogola, claims the parliamentary process was inadequate and failed to identify who was responsible for the fake fertilizer scandal.

Ogola asserts that the select committee misled Kenyans by making rulings that closed the case without assigning responsibility to the culpable parties.

The LSK has sued Linturi, Agriculture Permanent Secretary Paul Rono, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCBP), and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS).

Other parties in the case include Kel Chemicals, Mem Distributors Limited, the Director of Public Prosecution, and the Director of Criminal Investigations. The lawyers’ body argues that the committee, led by Naomi Waqo, should have summoned the Agriculture PS and the CEO of Kel Chemicals to clarify what transpired.

Ogola claims that Linturi and Dr. Rono hastily managed the subsidized fertilizer program and violated the law.

“The parliamentary proceedings on the proposed impeachment of the first respondent did not alleviate the situation. The select committee’s nuanced approach, non-publication of assessed documents, and failure to admit key witnesses denied Kenyans the opportunity to understand the full extent of the NFSP scam,” Ogola argued.

“As it stands, it remains unclear how much fake fertilizer reached farms, how much money was lost by both the government and farmers, or who was behind the fraudulent scheme that the NFSP became,” he added.

The LSK wants Linturi and Rono to be held personally liable for the scandal.

LSK Chief Executive Officer Florence Muturi swore an affidavit supporting the case.

She stated that the implementation of the subsidized fertilizer should have been the responsibility of the Fertilizer and Animal Foodstuffs Board, but Linturi has not established or appointed such a board to date.

”In the haste and chaos of implementing the NFSP prematurely, the first respondent (Linturi) abdicated his duty under Section 2C of the Fertiliser and Animal Foodstuffs Board  CAP 345 of the Laws of Kenya by failing and/or neglecting to appoint and/or set up the Fertiliser and Animal Foodstuffs Board established under section 2A of the said Act with the mandate of regulating the fertilisers and animal foodstuffs industry in Kenya, including the production, manufacture, packaging, importation and marketing of fertilisers and animal foodstuffs,” said Muturi.

The High Court has directed the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to serve Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi with its petition challenging the implementation of the National Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (NFSP).

Justice Lawrence Mugambi stated that LSK has seven days to serve its petition to the CS. The respondents will then have 14 days to respond.

The judge announced that he would issue further directions on the case on July 4.

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