CSs Rotich, Mohamed off the hook as MPs throw out sugar report


CSs Rotich, Mohamed off the hook as MPs throw out sugar report
Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury) and Adan Mohamed (Industrialization). PHOTOS| COURTESY

In Summary

  • MPs faulted the joint Trade and Agriculture Committee, saying the team had been compromised and did not establish whether the sugar in the market was safe for human consumption.
  • South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro accused the Kanini Kega-Adan Haji led committee of being used to settle political scores instead of focusing on public interest.

A heated debate and emotional talk back characterised proceedings of the National Assembly on Thursday as MPs debated and finally threw out the entire contraband sugar probe report.

MPs faulted the joint Trade and Agriculture Committee saying the team had been compromised and did not establish whether or not the sugar in the market was safe for human consumption.

“Kenyans are waiting for one answer only. Is the sugar safe or not? When my people of Mathare take sugar they want to know, will they die of Cancer because of Lead or Mercury?” posed Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang.

South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro accused the Kanini Kega-Adan Haji led committee of being used to settle political scores instead of focusing on public interest.

“This is nothing, this is witch-hunt,” said Mr. Osoro about the report. “The committee ought to have done a good job, not jumping up and down, not allowing themselves to be used to settle political scores.”

“We sent them out on a mission to go and do tests not tasting sugar,” said Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa.

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and those in her support tried passionately to have amendments included to have Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich and Adan Mohamed investigated and prosecuted over controversial sugar imports, but they did not succeed.

The committee had recommended that action be taken against CS Henry Rotich for sanctioning a duty-free window that opened the floodgates for importers to import excess sugar, tax free.

“The relevant investigative agencies should investigate the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury to ascertain the circumstances under which Gazette Notice No. 4536, 9801, 9802 and 10149 were issued leading to the importation of excess sugar into the country and evasion of taxes,” reads part of the report.

On CS Mohamed, the parliamentary team noted that he failed in his mandate of ensuring that the Kenya Bureau of Standards carried out its role of ensuring that the imported sugar was safe for human consumption.

The committee also recommended that any sugar in the country that does not meet the set standards be destroyed within 21 days of the adoption of its report.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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