The owner of a company banned for distributing counterfeit fertilizer in the country surprised MPs yesterday when he admitted that he has no knowledge about the type of fertilizer he has been selling to the government.

Mr. Josiah Kariuki, the CEO of SBL Innovate Manufacturers Limited, told the National Assembly Agriculture Committee that he went to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) on March 20, 2022, for a commercial opportunity to distribute fertilizer.

This was after using fertilizer from African Diatomite Industries Limited (ADIL), which performed well in his farm located in Rumuruti area, Laikipia County.

Despite the controversy that would later arise, Mr. Kariuki was awarded the tender by NCPB.

He told the committee, chaired by MP John Mutunga (Tigania West), that in collaboration with ADIL and his other company—51 Capital Kenya—they entered into a tender agreement with NCPB on March 31, 2022, to supply three types of products.

Capital 51 Kenya was officially registered on February 6, 2020.

The agreed-upon products for distribution were 51 Capital animal supplements, GPC-Guard, and diatomaceous packed in 25-kilogram bags at prices of Sh1,800, Sh1,950, and Sh1,500 respectively.

These three products were to be sold by NCPB at prices of Sh1,980, Sh2,145, and Sh1,700 respectively.

The contract was to last for two years with product evaluation after every six months. This would determine whether the tender would continue or not.

“We began distributing these products around May or June 2022, where ADIL was supposed to manufacture and distribute the fertilizer. My company was to sell it to NCPB,” said Mr. Kariuki, who was accompanied by seven lawyers, including Mr. Cliff Ombeta and Mr. Danstan Omari.

However, Mr. Mutunga asked Mr. Kariuki to explain to Parliament how his company ADIL entered into a contract with NCPB without any legal agreements.

“I have been selling what I was told by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). I have no ability to know the product I am selling,” he said, leaving the MPs in disbelief.