COTU: Deal with illegal sugar imports permanently


COTU: Deal with illegal sugar imports permanently
Imported Sugar is offloaded at the Port of Mombasa

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) has applauded government agencies involved in the seizure of over Ksh344 million shillings worth of illegally imported sugar and ethanol in Mombasa.

In a press release, COTU also commended efforts by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General John Njiraini and CID Director General Ndegwa Muhoro for working alongside other government agencies.

The organisation has called on the government to deal with the chronic problem of illegal sugar imports into the country, if the country is to achieve meaningful progress in reviving the struggling sugar industry.

“Already, a total of 60,000 jobs were lost in the sugar industry during the last quarter of 2015 according to COTU(K)’s Economic and Research Department. The trend is likely to worsen this year as cartels in the sugar industry go full throat (sic) to now package this illegally imported sugar into Mumias Sugar Company branded packets hence fetching huge profits as if it is our locally made sugar from Mumias Sugar Company,” read the statement in part.

COTU also demanded for the arrest of those involved in the illegal imports, also asking for stringent measures to permanently curb the vice.

“Apparently, all these sugar barons are well known to the government and it is hypocritical for any government agency to claim that it is investigating those involved yet these very individuals behind such huge illegal imports will be having joint breakfast around the city with them at a time the sugar industry is in its last collapse mode. Even if the government claims not to know these individuals, as workers we have a list of principal suspects and we are ready to share this list with relevant agencies in confidence,” read the presser.

In December 2015, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials at the Mombasa Port impounded eight containers of contraband sugar worth over Ksh 20 million.

Four of the containers had been declared as handbags and belts while the other four had been declared as lubricants and were headed to Uganda.

The containers had 200,000 bags of sugar.

 

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Maureen Murimi
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