Detectives from the Serious Crimes Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have recovered 1,700 bales of hybrid Maize certified seeds stolen from Kenya Seed Company.
Three suspects Brian Meja, and two Narok-based traders of Asian origin identified as “Yogesh” and “Gaurav” were arrested as Ksh7 million-worth of maize seeds were seized from a private warehouse in Narok town.
In a flurry of tweets, DCI said the trio was involved in a “well-coordinated syndicate, involving a store supervisor at Narok’s Kenya Seed Company Branch” and owners of the warehouse.
High Yielding 6213
Stolen high yielding seeds of variety 6213 were transported in two Toyota Probox vehicles everyday and reportedly held at Meja’s store temporarily. They would then be moved to premises of the two Asians. “Approximately, 40 bales each containing 12 packets of 2kilogrames per packet, have been supplied daily to the two unscrupulous traders since last December,” says DCI.
Yogesh owns Shakti Farm Products, and Ololulunga Shiv Agrovets in Lulunga, Narok County, while Gurav runs Sai Agrovet in Bomet. Yogesh “has one other godown within Narok town that has currently stored over 10 tonnes of stolen seeds,” says DCI.
In a bid to rake in more profits at the expense of poor farmers, the suspects allegedly packaged ordinary, coloured maize seeds and disguised them as genuine, high-yielding 6213 variety.
“They then sell it exorbitantly to unsuspecting farmers, who end up with poor yields after planting and incurring high input costs trying to improve the crop,” says DCI.
The sleuths say samples of the recovered seeds will be subjected to forensic analysis “to strengthen our case against the fraudsters.”
Greed-Driven Enemies of Kenyan Farmers
The detectives also says they will visit the Kenya Seed Company to ascertain how the genuine, certified seeds are graded and packaged “as opposed to the ones packaged by the greed-driven enemies to Kenyan farmers.”
The detectives said they uncovered the unscrupulous activities following a tip received on their toll-free number (0800722203) a week ago.
“As a result of fulfilling his (the caller’s) patriotic duty, thousands of farmers have been saved from the jaws of fraudulent traders out to profiteer from their sweat,” said DCI.