State to destroy 9.4 tonnes of contaminated maize in Mombasa

State agencies in Mombasa have started destroying contaminated maize imported from a southern African nation after it was declared unfit for human consumption last year.

Some 201 40-foot containers of maize had been stored under tight security at the Consol Base Container Freight Station in Changamwe, Mombasa mainland, since last year.

According to Moses Mburu, a National Environmental Management Authority officer, a multi-agency security team had been providing security.

"It is a huge consignment that will take up to 20 working days to destroy," he said.

On Thursday, Mr Mburu said maize in 10 containers was moved to Bamburi Portland Cement, which has been licensed as a designated destruction site for condemned goods, for destruction.

"We use denaturing, which involves mixing the maize with used oil, and then burning it," he said.

The cargo

Documents indicated that Mahindra and Mahindra South Africa PTY Limited, a company based in Nairobi, imported the cargo from Mozambique Fertilizer Company, LDA.

Sources said each container had 520 bags of maize.?

Since last year, police in Mombasa have been investigating the consignment of 9.4 tonnes of maize but have maintained silence over the matter that has been festering since last October.

Officials told The Standard the maize had to be destroyed out of fear that it could be sneaked into the market.

The maize, worth over Sh300 million, was said to have been imported from Mozambique by a South African based company last year through Mombasa port. The maize, alleged to have been afflicted with aflatoxin, was found at Consolbase Warehouse in Changamwe, Mombasa.

On November 18, last year, when the reports first emerged, a multi-agency team led by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Kenya Bureau of Standards stormed the warehouse to stop the maize getting into the market.