Over 1,700 bales of stolen Kenya Seed Company’s certified hybrid maize seeds were on Tuesday recovered from a private warehouse in Narok town by detectives from the Serious Crimes Unit.
The maize seeds valued at over Sh7 million are believed to have been stolen from Narok’s Kenya Seed Company Branch.
Two businessmen of Asian descent only identified as Yogesh and Gaurav have been linked to the fraud.
According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the well-coordinated syndicate involves a store supervisor at Narok’s Kenya Seed Company Branch, Brian Meja, who has been working closely with the two traders based in Narok.
During the Tuesday operation, DCI said, the sleuths raided a facility leased by Meja a distance from Kenya Seed’s main godown, where the recovery was made.
The detectives established that the stolen high yielding seeds of variety 6213, are transported in two Probox vehicles daily and held at Meja’s store temporarily before being moved to establishments owned by the two unscrupulous traders.
“Approximately, 40 bales each containing 12 packets of 2kilogrames per packet, have been supplied daily to the two unscrupulous traders since last December, ” DCI said in a statement shared on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Yogesh who owns Shakti Farm products and Ololulunga Shiv Agrovets in Lulunga town has one other godown within Narok town that has currently stored over 10 tonnes of stolen seeds. His fellow suspect Gurav operates Sai Agrovet in Bomet.
Further preliminary investigations indicate that in a bid to rake in more profits at the expense of poor farmers, the crooked traders package ordinary coloured maize grains, disguised as genuine high yielding, Kenya Seed’s variety 6213.
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.
DCI said recovered seeds will be subjected to forensic analysis with experts drawn from DCI Forensic Lab, the Government Chemist, Kenya Bureau of Standards and other relevant government agencies to strengthen its case against the fraudsters.
The sleuths from the Serious Crimes Unit and investigators from other state agencies are set to visit the Kenya Seed Company Limited to among others ascertain how the genuine, certified seeds are graded and packaged as opposed to the ones packaged by the greed-driven businessmen.
DCI said the operation followed a tip-off from a member of the public a week ago.
“As a result of fulfilling his patriotic duty, thousands of farmers have been saved from the jaws of fraudulent traders, out to profiteer from their sweat, ” said DCI.
DCI didn’t immediately reveal action taken against the suspects.