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10,000 bags of contaminated sugar released into Kenyan market

By Willis Oketch | Published Sat, August 18th 2018 at 11:14, Updated August 18th 2018 at 11:19 GMT +3
A Kenya Ports Authority security officer inspects some bags of sugar in one of the sixteen containers. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]

The State has now admitted that 10,000 bags of contaminated sugar was sneaked from Mombasa Port and released into the market last month.

The Egyptian sugar not only had unhealthy levels of moisture but is also laced with “insoluble matter” and aflatoxin that render the products unfit for human consumption.

The transfer of the sugar into two batches from the port into Boss Freight Container Station happened on July 11 right under the nose of port authorities, police and two committees of Parliament. The committees had visited the port and several warehouses, purporting to seize and inspect contraband and contaminated sugar.

Now eight people and entities, including Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and public health officials and managers of the freight station, have been arrested and charged for this crime.

Yesterday, an official at the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions told the Saturday Standard that more people will be charged over import of substandard sugar and its transfer from the port. The official said investigators have prepared 35 files with “actionable evidence”.

The eight were charged on Friday before Mombasa Resident Magistrate Christine Ogweno who ordered them to be remanded at Port Police Station until Monday when she will rule on their bond application. They however denied the charges.

Samuel Onjolo Omolo, Kebs’ inspection manager at the port and Daniel Samuel Musta Khamba, an inspection officer at Kebs at the port, were charged with abuse of office for allegedly authorising the release of the contaminated sugar.

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Breach of trust

They were charged with seven counts, including breach of trust, disobedience of the law and releasing substandard sugar from the port before tests were done on it by the government chemists.

Also charged for similar offences were Peter Mwadziwe Nzui, a public health officer in charge of the port and Ali Abdi Mohamed, a clearing agent. An arrest warrant was issued for Hassan Abdi Mohamed and Abdullahi Abdi Mohamed who are directors of Flora Bakers Limited.

According to the police, Flora Bakers imported the suspect sugar while Ali Abdi Mohamed is said to be a director at Air Menzies International, which cleared the sugar upon arrival from Egypt for storage at Boss Freight Container Station.

An affidavit sworn by Corporal Moses Gituathi for the prosecution states: “That 10,000 bags of contaminated sugar that is harmful to human health in respect for Customs Import Entry Numbers 2018 MSA 6935697 and 2018 MSA 6935720, respectively, was unlawfully released into the Kenyan market for sale and distribution by the accused persons.”

Gituathi says State agencies are trying to trace most the sugar in the market in the belief it is being hidden somewhere. But the authorities claim to have some samples.


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