Sh50,000 fine or 6 months in jail for Nyeri plastic bags trader

Wednesday March 18 2020

Nancy Wangari Roberts at a Nyeri court on February 8, 2019, where she was fined Sh50,000 for selling the banned plastic bags. PHOTO | JOSEPH WANGUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A Nyeri town trader was on Friday morning fined Sh50,000, with the alternative of spending six months in prison, for selling the banned plastic bags.

Nancy Wangari Roberts was found selling 17 types of the carriers by officers from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) on November 6, 2017.

Ms Wangari, sister of Nyeri politician Githinji Cocorico, was found selling the bags at Mudavadi market along Gakere street in Nyeri town.

She is the owner of a retail shop named Cocorico Polythene Centre.


In mitigation through lawyer Charles Karweru, the businesswoman asked for a non-custodial sentence, saying she was diabetic and a first-time offender.

Ms Wangari also contended that when the ban took effect on August 28, 2017 she had not exhausted her stock.

She also claimed police inspector Phillip Nguthu violated her rights by searching her shop without a warrant.


In the ruling, Nyeri Senior Resident Magistrate Phillip Mutua noted that County Director Njeru Njoka and Mr Nguthu proved the charge against Ms Roberts beyond reasonable doubt.

While noting the stiff penalties of a Sh4 million fine of up to four years in jail, Mr Mutua said he was lenient due to Ms Roberts age.

Regarding the search, the magistrate said there was no breach of rights.

Mr Mutua said the inspector, according to Section 117 (3)(e) of the Nema Act, is allowed by law to conduct searches without obtaining warrants.

“The materials found and produced in court as exhibits were banned and were not to be possessed by her,” he noted.

He added, “The witnesses went to the shop and posed as customers. She agreed to sell them the bags. They introduced themselves and recovered the bags."

The ban, which was imposed after a delay of more than eight years, prohibits the manufacture, sale and use of plastic bags.