Suspended Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director Bernard Njinu Njiraini and seven other senior government officials were on Tuesday charged with stealing 20,000 bags of condemned sugar worth over Sh20 million.
Also charged with stealing, conspiracy to commit a felony, abuse of office and interference with goods subject to customs control, among other counts, was the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) deputy commissioner Joseph Kiago Kaguru.
The eight suspects appeared before Milimani chief magistrate Lucas Onyina and denied the charges. They were freed after paying cash bail of Sh400,000 each.
The charge sheet stated that the brown sugar had been condemned and was intended to be used as raw material for the distillation of industrial ethanol.
Others who were charged were suspended KRA officials Derrick Njeru Kago and Peter Njoroge Mwangi, Crispus Waithaka Macharia (a shipping agent at Mombasa port), businessmen Mohammed Hassan Ali, Abdi Hirsi Yusuf alias Blackie and Pollyanne Njeri Kamau.
The charge sheet stated that they committed the offence on diverse dates between December 9, 2022, and May 3, 2023, at an unknown place in Kenya.
The prosecution said they jointly conspired with others not before the court to steal the condemned sugar valued at Sh20,064,000, from the KRA.
The accused persons also denied interfering with the 20,064 bags of 50 kilogrammes each.
Further, the court heard that Mr Njiraini abused his office by arbitrarily recommending the conversion of condemned brown sugar into industrial ethanol through the process of distillation.
The court heard that he committed the offence on December 9, 2022, at Kebs’ offices, an act which was prejudicial to the office of the commissioner of customs and border control at KRA.
The case will be mentioned on June 6 for pre-trial directions.