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Mumias Sugar Co. accused of massive sugar smuggling

30 April 2014, 10:21 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - The National Assembly's Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives committee has accused Mumias Sugar Company of contributing to sugar smuggling leading to adverse challenges facing sugar industry in Kenya.

The committee chaired by Mandera North MP, Adan Nooru alleged that Mumias has been engaging in sugar smuggling from international market then repackage in the company's packs to increase its stock.

The committee which had summoned Inspector General of Police, David Kimaiyo to shed more light on how smuggled sugar finds it way into local market amid security inspection at entry points urged him to take legal action against police officers involved in the illegal practice.

"Investigation conducted by this committee in the Coast revealed that some go-downs are strictly manned by police officers in uniform who don't allow inspection agencies including the Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) verify the imported goods. The Mombasa OCPD is also involved in this smuggling practice by protecting those scrupulous culprits," said Nooru.

The Agriculture committee also claimed that there is high influx of sugar from the porous Somalia border reaveling that over 1 000 bags of smuggled sugar is transported to Kenya across Tabaka barrier daily in addition to illegal daily repackaging of imported sugar in Mombasa's Msambweni region.

Responding to the committee's sentiments, Kimaiyo said the police have not relented in combating smuggling of goods at the country's borders despite encountering challenges of circumventing the law by smugglers and diversion of goods to avoid arrest during clearance exercise by responsible agencies at entry points.

He noted that culprit police officers found colluding with smugglers have been sacked and arraigned in court after getting enough evidence pertaining their participation in the malpractice.

"As the Police Service, sugar smuggling is a serious issue that requires much support from various surveillance agencies including Kenya Sugar Board. Some police officers involved in the malpractice have lost their jobs and taken to court while others are on wanted list," said Kiamiyo.

"We in the Police Service do not protect a few scrupulous individual officers involved in illegal activities such as smuggling of goods and especially our Kenya Defense Forces have impounded and destroyed smuggled goods from Somalia into the country," he added.

Inspector General stated that upon receiving the KSB's request to assist in fighting sugar smuggling, he held talks with Director Criminal Investigation Department, Ndegwa Muhoro where they are in the process of assign police officers to deal with the malpractice.

"The Police Service is mandated to perform all laws legislated by Parliament including carrying out surveillance to anything crossing our borders to assist other inspection agencies such as KRA and Ports Authority among others in detecting unwanted goods," noted Kimaiyo.

He urged the Agriculture committee to legislate stringent laws against smuggling including goods liberalization where some factories import sugar to increase their stock thereby impacting negatively on the local market.

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