MPs want Uhuru to form commission of inquiry into sugar, maize scandal


President Uhuru Kenyatta during the unveiling of the first batch of his second term cabinet ...
President Uhuru Kenyatta during the unveiling of the first batch of his second term cabinet on Friday, January 5, 2018.PHOTO|PSCU

In Summary

  • The over 25 legislators represent constituencies in the sugar belt and maize growing areas of the country.
  • They want Cabinet Secretaries in the affected ministries to be held responsible for the scam and those found culpable be sent packing.
  • They are also pushing for the privatization of the crippled government-owned sugar mills, in a bid to revive the sugar sector for the benefit of farmers.

A section of Members of Parliament have petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to form a commission of inquiry to unravel those behind the illicit importation of sugar, maize and fertilizer into the country.

Led by Lugari MP Ayub Savula and his Sabatia counterpart Alfred Agoi, over 25 legislators, representing constituencies in the sugar belt and maize growing areas of the country, are raising doubt that the joint parliamentary committee investigating the matter could fail to unmask the culprits.

The MPs also want Cabinet Secretaries in the affected ministries to be held responsible for the importation of contraband goods, some of which have been proved poisonous, and those found culpable be sent packing.

“The commission of inquiry should be formed to look into and report on the sugar, maize and fertilizer scandals in Kenya. The sugar barons should be investigated and if found culpable prosecuted for endangering the lives of Kenyans,” reads part of the petition.

They are also pushing for the privatization of the crippled government-owned sugar mills, in a bid to revive the sugar sector for the benefit of farmers.

“The government should look into ways of effecting reforms in the sugar sector ahead of the expiry of the Comesa reprieve ending in February 2019,” says the MPs.

A joint parliamentary committee led by MPs Kanini Kega and Adan Ali have so far questioned Cabinet Secretaries Mwangi Kiunjuri, Adan Mohamed, Henry Rotich and Fred Matiang’i as well as various sugar importers over the scandal.

On Tuesday, Health Permanent Secretary Peter Tum told the parliamentary team that 60 percent of the imported sugar tested has been found unfit for human consumption.

Mr. Tum said they had so far tested 172 samples and that testing was still ongoing.

The committee, which is at the tail end of its interrogations, is set to proceed for a two-day retreat to write the report on the findings which will be tabled on the floor of the House for either adoption or rejection.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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