Sugar scandal: Parliament wants CSs Rotich, Mohamed punished


Sugar scandal: Parliament wants CSs Rotich, Mohamed punished
Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury) and Adan Mohamed (Industrialization). PHOTOS| COURTESY

In Summary

  • The Kanini Kega Adan Haji-led committee wants CS Rotich held to account sanctioning a duty-free window that opened the floodgates for importers to import excess sugar tax free.
  • The committee noted that the country lost approximately Ksh.2 billion through alleged tax evasion and wants companies implicated in the scam to be probed.
  • 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.

A parliamentary committee has recommended that action be taken against Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury) and Adan Mohamed (Industrialization) over the sugar scandal.

In a report released on Wednesday, the committee affirmed that there were importers who shipped into the country contaminated sugar that was unsafe for human consumption.

The Kanini Kega, Adan Haji-led committee wants CS Rotich held to account 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.

The committee noted that the country lost about Ksh.2 billion through alleged tax evasion and wants companies implicated in the scam to be probed.

“The DCI and EACC should investigate the alleged irregular transaction between South Nyanza Sugar Company Ltd and other companies for the alleged tax evasion of approximately Ksh.2.5 billion,” reads 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.

The joint Agriculture and Trade committee further urged that importers, wholesalers and millers dealing in contaminated sugar be investigated and prosecuted for violating food safety standards.

The team also wants the Kenya Revenue Authority to institute mechanisms of recovering the tax lost during the duty free period allowed by CS Rotich between September 1 and October 3, 2017.

The government was also asked by the committee to ban importation of raw sugar meant for further processing to avoid diversion of the same into the local market.

The committee reported that heavy presence of copper was detected in sugar seized at Diamond Wholesalers godown while high levels of lead were found in sugar found at Paleah Stores in Ruiru. Other samples collected were found to contain mercury.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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