A police officer examines coffee that was found in a building in Murera, Juja. County police commander Adiel Nyange said they suspect the coffee was stolen from warehouses. Four suspects have been arrested. [PHOTO: KAMAU MAICHUHIE]
Police in Juja have recovered about 400 bags of coffee hidden in an incomplete building in Juda village in Murera.
County police commander Adiel Nyange said they acted on a tip off from the public that there was coffee being offloaded into a house on Monday evening.
He said they were treating the coffee worth about Sh16 million as suspected stolen goods.
The police boss said four suspects were arrested and are helping with investigations.
A black Prado was also confiscated during the raid.
Mr Nyange said preliminary investigations showed the coffee did not have the requisite documentation required to handle such commodity.
“We commend members of the public for informing us that the coffee was being offloaded. Investigations are ongoing to ascertain who are the real owners so that appropriate action can be taken against them,” he said.
The police chief said they were also looking for the landlord of the building to help in the investigations.
“We are appealing to coffee factories in Murang’a, Nyeri or anywhere else where there have been rampant coffee theft and to individuals who may have lost coffee to come forward and identify it,” he said.
The coffee, which was not labelled, will be used as exhibit against the suspects.
Neighbours said the suspects who were arrested had rented the house in which the coffee was found on Saturday before the commodity was brought later in the night.
“Some of the coffee was brought on Saturday night while onother batch was brought in on Sunday. At first, we did not know what the commodity was but were later attracted by the smell of coffee,” said Lucy Nyambura, a resident.
Cases of coffee theft have been on the rise in Central Kenya particularly in Nyeri and Murang’a counties with several factories reporting theft of their produce.
Last year, armed gangsters broke into the stores of a Nyeri factory and made away with about 200 bags of parchment coffee estimated at Sh7 million.
However, upon an audit, it was discovered that the reported robbery could have been a ploy by the management of the society to fleece farmers.
Farmers in Gaturiri Coffee Factory in Mathira also lost 55 bags of coffee parchment valued at Sh2 million.
Those from Kayu Coffee FJactory in Murang’a were not spared either as they lost 40 bags of coffee worth Sh2 million while those from Wanjengi, Gachirago and Iyego lost produce worth Sh2 million last year.