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KEBS tasked to probe radioactive material claims

BUSINESS
By Dominic Omondi | October 15th 2015

The Government has given the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) one week to investigate claims that some cars imported into the country from Japan could be having radioactive materials.

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed said he had appointed a team of investigators and was expected to furnish him with the findings within a week.

He was speaking yesterday on a day when standards agencies all over the world marked the World Standards Day. This directive comes a month after a Japanese firm contracted by KEBS to inspect vehicle imports was blacklisted from conducting radiation inspection due to shoddy work.

Japan Harbor Transportation Association (JHTA) in a notice dated August 27, 2015 cancelled the licences of Quality Inspection Services Inc Japan (QISJ) and another firm for poor inspection of radioactive substances in used vehicles.

Mr Mohammed also directed that all goods coming into the country be inspected at the point of departure and not at the port of Mombasa. This is to avoid cases in which counterfeit products come into the country. The CS noted that except in areas where there are no inspection agencies, cases of counterfeit products will be brought at the doors of inspection agencies.

“The way that compliance exercise is undertaken is, a number of agents are engaged through a very rigorous process by KEBS and these agents are present in many parts of the world,” he said. However, the importers have been given lee-way to have their goods inspected at the port of Mombasa. “What is happening is there are a number of cargoes which does get inspected at those points,” he said.

“A number of goods that either don’t get taxed, or are mis-declared as something that is totally different from what they are,” said Mr Mohammed. He said in some instances cigarettes are brought into the country in biscuit boxes.

Yesterday, KEBS launched a secured import standardisation mark (ISM). The new standardisation mark can only be printed by KEBS’ agents. This is unlike the old mark, which could be printed from the port of Mombasa or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. According to KEBS Managing Director Charles Ongwae, this means that Kenya’s standard agency’s agents can be put to task in case of anything.

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