The National Assembly Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has summoned two Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials to shed more light on the surroundings that led to the release of 20,000 tonnes of condemned sugar to the market.
Led by Chairperson James Gakuya (Embakasi North MP), the members questioned suspended Mombasa KRA Customs Warehouse Manager and the then Multi-Agency Team (MAT) Chairperson Masinde Mwanja and KRA Customs Manager attached to Vine Park Industries Ms. Irene Thiong’o.
Gakuya took the KRA team to task to explain how the sugar that was initially destined to be stored at Vine Park in Thika, Kiambu County, ended up at Kings Commodities in the same area.
In his response, Mwanja disclosed that MAT was in the dark on the change of storage.
“The exercise would have been a unique one since it didn’t have any precedence. Despite not having a warehouse to store the sugar, there was no indication of challenges in space that was made known to us. Vine Park did not raise any issues on this,” he told the members.
He disclosed that his mandate ended when they were informed that sugar had arrived at Vine Park and that he was not aware and has never interacted with Kings Commodities.
While also distancing herself from the matter, Thiong’o told the Committee that she did not see any trucks outside the facility during the period the consignment is said to have been parked there.
She maintained that her role was limited to only what was going on in within the yard and had nothing to do with activities outside the facility.
The Committee is now set to invite Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and more members of MAT.
Twenty-seven government employees have been suspended over the issue.
The sugar had been declared unfit for human consumption in 2018 and earmarked for conversion into industrial ethanol, investigators managed to recover 52 tonnes.
By Obegi Malack
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