•While Kebs issues Certificates of Conformity (CoC) under the Pre-export verification of conformity to standards, its agents abroad have no capacity to address issues around radiation on metal, aflatoxins and other poisons, leaving Kenyans exposed
•The Kenya Radiation Protection Board (KRPB), which has traditionally carried out 100 per cent inspection for radiation of all vehicles imported into the country
Kenyans risk exposure to radioactive cars, metals and poisonous goods , the Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) has warned, opposing the kicking out of multiple state agencies from the port.
This is contrary to an outcry by clearing agents, which through the Kenya International Freight Forwarders Warehousing Association (Kifwa), have blamed duplication of roles by state agencies for delaying cargo at the Port of Mombasa.
A memo from State House on June 4, last year sought to remove at least 24 agencies from the ports of entry, leaving Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Kenya Ports Authority as the main cargo handlers.
Among those kicked out is the Kenya Radiation Protection Board (KRPB), which has traditionally carried out 100 per cent inspection for radiation of all vehicles imported into the country.
The inspection takes place on the ship before offloading.
CIAK chairman Peter Otieno on Friday said while Kebs issues Certificates of Conformity (CoC) under the Pre-export verification of conformity to standards, its agents abroad have no capacity to address issues around radiation on metal, aflatoxins and other poisons, leaving Kenyans exposed.
“Kebs agents only look at standards, as long as it conforms, it is allowed to be exported to Kenya. That is why we have cases of unfit goods being intercepted at the Port (Mombasa),” Otieno said.
“Certificates of Conformity alone is not enough to protect consumers. Every state agency plays a critical role in their respective area of expertise,” he added, calling for the reinstatement of the 24 state agencies at the port.
Agencies being pushed out of the port include Pharmacy and Poisonous Board, AFA Horticultural Crop Directorate, Directorate of Veterinary Services, Kenya Dairy Board, AFA Sugar Directorate, Pest Control Produce Board, Directorate of Mining, Kenya Wildlife Services, and the National Biosafety Authority.
Others are Veterinary Medical Department, AFFA Tea Directorate, Central Firearms Bureau, NEMA, AFA Fibre Crop Directorate and the Radiation Protection Board.
Kenya imports an average 12,000 second-hand units per month mainly from Japan (80 per cent), United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore, and South Africa.
Japan, the biggest market source, is considered as a high-risk radiation country due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant incident of March 2011.
In 2013, KRPB intercepted a container with four motor vehicles from Japan alleged to be contaminated with radioactive materials.
In August last year, Kebs was put on the spotlight after more than 23 tonnes of ginger oil imported from Vietnam was released, despite a Port Health services questioning its safety.
“If we are going to release goods on CoC (Certificates of Conformity), we will be having a problem,” Otieno said.
Kifwa has however blamed multiple agencies at the port for delaying clearance of cargo.
“We must smoke out anybody delaying cargo clearance,” Kifwa national chairman Roy Mwanthi said.