A Chinese national and a Kenyan were Friday jointly fined Sh. 1.4 million or serve two years imprisonment by a Nyeri court for engaging in illegal processing of tea at Kiawara area of Kieni Constituency, Nyeri.
The two, He Zhifhang and Mary Ndung’u who are said to have been carrying the illegal trade at a construction site in the said area were convicted on their own plea of guilt when they appeared before Chief Magistrate, Wendy Kagendo.
The duo admitted that on September 14, 2018, they were found engaging in the business of processing and packaging tea at the China Machinery Engineering Company site without permit.
The prosecution told the court that the two were arrested at around 9. 30 am on the material day after police stormed the site following a tip off from public.
The court heard that 120 sachets of packaged tea leaves and tea bags were nabbed as well as a sealing machine and three weighing scales.
According to the charge sheet, the two faced eight counts, including dealing with tea leaves without registration from the Kenya Tea Board and engaging in the trade without valid work permit.
They were also charged with operating a factory without valid medical certification and food hygiene license from relevant authorities.
They were also accused of failing to maintain preventive measures to avoid contamination of the tea leaves as provided for in the Health Act.
The Chinese national who is a civil engineer of the company that is undertaking construction works on Kiawara-Nairutia road faced a separate count of engaging in activities not approved in his core business.
In mitigation, the two through lawyer Charles King’ori pleaded for leniency, saying the said tea was for own consumption and not commercial.
The court ordered for the destruction of the tea leaves and equipment recovered.
By Samuel Waititu