High Court orders over 6,000 tonnes of impounded sugar be released

The High Court in Mombasa has ordered Director of Criminal Investigation Officer for Changamwe to release over 6,000 tonnes of sugar belonging to Skkari Industries Limited after it was impounded at Roadtainers go-down last month.

Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni directed DCIO Changamwe Stephen Murega to ensure the sugar is moved within the next three days to another go-down as directed in his order delivered on August 6, 2018.

Roadtrainers lawyer Dominic Anaya told the courts that the go-down was expecting a new consignment from Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) in a few days and failure to clear the sugar will cost the warehouse business.

Anaya accused Murega of deliberately failing to execute the courts order and failing to call the warehouse owners to sort the issue of moving the sugar.

However, Attorney General’ counsel Emmanuel Makuto, objected any attempt to move the sugar from the warehouse until all the relevant bodies including Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Ministry of Health have given an analysis of the sugar samples and duties.

Friday, Murega who took to the stand to defend himself for failure to obey court orders said that a multi-agency comprising of KRA, KEBS and Ministry of Health were investigating and set to file a report before the parliamentary committee before acting promptly.

Murega had told the courts that investigations had revealed that in the two go-downs there was sugar that was suspected to be contaminated.

“The said go-downs were seized and secured by police officers to secure the scene and safeguard the exhibits,” said Murega.

Murega told the magistrate they were still in discussions on how to execute his orders without compromising the quantitative and qualitative aspect of the sugar.

Murega said KRA, KEBS and other agencies were still discussing to determine if the sugar was fit for consumption.

“The quantitative and qualitative aspect of the sugar has to be observed and then the chairman heading the KRA, KEBS and other state agencies will call the owner of the consignment and then we will sort the issue of transfer,” said Murega.

Murega said that the sugar might be stolen if released from the warehouse it is currently placed in.

However, Kagoni did not take Murega’s explanation lightly and demanded why they had failed to execute his orders.

“So you are telling me that you are holding meetings to discuss how to defy my orders.  You don’t need to subject my orders to a ball of discussion,” said Kagoni.

“I have heard your explanation and since you have said you will comply after meeting with all the relevant parties, I expect a full compliance report by closure of business of August 14 2018,” continued Kagoni.

On August 6 2018, Kagoni also directed that the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the sugar not to be tampered with during the movement.

“The movement of the sugar can be done within the shortest time as will be agreed by the parties,” directed Kagoni.

He said that breaking the seal and moving the sugar would amount to tampering with a crime scene and exhibits too.

He also said that the results from the government were yet to be released.

“After the result of analysis, the importers of the said sugar may be arrested and movement of the sugar from one go-down to another would be detrimental to the prosecution case,” said Murega.

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