THE recovered sugar is believed to be extremely harmful to human health, an affidavit presented in court states.
But investigators got a set back when Simon Gichovi Maria, Leah Njeri Njiru and Douglas Kuria Njiru were set free, thanks to a court order originating from Kerugoya law courts where the second respondent(Njeri) had sought shielding from arrest and had been granted anticipatory bail.
Gichovi and Kuria also were set free after a search revealed they were not the directors of a suspect company, PALEAH STORES.
This comes barely a week after three other businessmen were arrested with more than 1000 Kgs of sugar believed to be unfit for human consumption.
They were detained for 10 days to allow police to complete investigations.Click the link below for details:
Police said Gichovi, Njeri and Kuria “were arrested on 13th June 2018 and booked at Muthaiga and Parklands police stations respectively and were believed to be the directors of Paleah stores who are the owners of the warehouse where the sugar was recovered.”
According to the Investigating officer, the investigations were brought about by intelligence reports that the respondents were repackaging sugar from its original packing and the same was confirmed by the police on patrol.
Police had anticipated to hold the suspects for 21 days to enable completion of concrete investigations.
The detective said in an affidavit that different agencies including counterfeit agency, KRA, Kenya Ports Authority, KEBs, government chemist and office of the Director of public prosecutions required time for sampling and conducting analysis on the unfit for human consumption sugar.
“Considering the facts that the respondents are suspected are suspected to have supplied the sugar, it is necessary to carry out investigations to the suspected supplied markets all over the country, which requires a lot of time,” the investigating officer, CPL Gerald Kamwaro told court.
Bungle the ongoing probe
In addition, the police said releasing the three on bond pending investigations may bungle the ongoing probe since there is a likelihood of them assisting and facilitating removal of the fake sugar from the outlets they have supplied.
The police further added that preliminary investigations have revealed that the investigation team requires furthering its investigations to the port of Mombasa to authenticate the provided import documents and also visit the local sugar companies in the country whose packaging bags were found being used by the respondents for collecting samples and statement recording.
“This is a matter of public interest since it touches on the health of almost all Kenyans who consume sugar,” read the affidavit.
However, through their lawyers, the court heard that the second respondent Leah Njeri Njiru, was the director of Paleah stores and had been granted anticipatory bail by the High Court and therefore her continued detention will be in violation of the court order .
Release the suspects unconditionally
The prosecution confirmed to the court the same and asked that the two other respondents be released since they were not the directors of the said store.
A magistrate then proceeded to release the suspects unconditionally after the prosecution withdrew its application for continued detention of the trio.