Kebs nab suspected contraband sugar in Kapenguria, two arrested
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) with the help of the police on Thursday evening nabbed alleged illegally repackaged contraband sugar in Kapenguria.
Following the crackdown, two business people were arrested for possession of the alleged condemned sugar.
The officers raided several supermarkets and seized 11 bags of suspected fake sugar from Santon Supermarket found packed in 50 kg bags.
Last week, the government suspended 27 employees over the release of condemned sugar to the public that had been declared unfit for human consumption in 2018 and earmarked into industrial ethanol.
KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini was among top officials who were questioned over the sale of condemned 20,000 bags of sugar worth over KES 163 million.
Njiraini, and other senior managers, were grilled by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) following reports that the sugar was released to a trader who repackaged and sold it.
Unscrupulous sugar business in Kenya has picked pace amid high surging prices for the commodity due to an ongoing shortage that has pushed retail prices threefold compared to January, for a two-kilogram packet.
Thomas Lokere- a Director of Santon Supermarket in Kapenguria said that the officers alleged that the sugar that was packed in unwanted Kaki papers is from Uganda.
“In this government hustler is the real hustler, our chief hustler said that we pack in small quantities and my supermarket is near the open air market where mama mbogas are. They can afford to buy a quarter, half or kilo yet sugar is sold in bags,” he said.
He said that he buys sugar from distributors of Khetias and Cherangany.
“They took 650 Kgs of sugar. I guess they wanted something small but they didn’t get here. We have Tims that records everything in KRA that displays everything . I don’t know if I am targeted because I am near Uganda,” he said.
He faulted the government for not giving traders a notice over suspected contraband goods.
“The sugar has been approved by KEBS. We have cheques and invoices. We are now buying sugar at KES 10500,” he said.
He dismissed claims that the Sugar was from Uganda.
“I’m a law abiding citizen and I cooperated. I closed the supermarket because of security issues. Right now we have no sugar. I could have sold KES 500,000 today and I pay tax.
We must be told which sugar to sell and what not to sell,” said Mr. Lokere.
West Pokot County Police commandant Peter Kattam confirmed that two have been arrested in connection due to contraband sugar.
“The nabbed sugar will be taken to the laboratory to ascertain if it has chemicals,” he said.
This comes as the government continues with a nationwide purge on contraband sugar alleged to have been sneaked into the country despite being flagged by authority.