MPs counter Munya, stop release of Sh10bn edible oil 'unfit for consumption'

In Summary

• Trade CS Peter Munya had ordered the release of the consignment.

Parliamentary committee chairman on Trade Kanini Kega with vice chairman Cornelly Serem and MP Daniel Maazo inspect the imported edible oil in Mombasa on Monday, August 19, 2019.
Parliamentary committee chairman on Trade Kanini Kega with vice chairman Cornelly Serem and MP Daniel Maazo inspect the imported edible oil in Mombasa on Monday, August 19, 2019.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

The National Assembly Committee on Trade on Monday stopped the release of 503 containers of edible oil imported into the country last year.

The Kanini Kega-led committee said Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)  last year declared the oil, imported from Asian countries, unfit for  consumption.

The edible oil did not have Vitamin A.

 

On August 1,  Trade CS Peter Munya, ordered the release of the consignment into the local market. He issued a waiver to the importers. 

Munya stood firm on the decision to release the controversial Sh10 billion worth of edible oils, saying the decision was reached by a multi-agency team, including the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

"It is the decision of a multi-agency committee to release the edible oil. It is not harmful to the public," Munya said. Fifty eight containers have already been released.

The product was confiscated by the government for lacking some components, mainly Vitamin A.

The Cs said those seeking to sell the oil will be allowed, but must declare the product as not fortified.

“We got a wind that some containers, which were seized last year containing edible oil, have been released into the local market. We know for sure, that the KEBS, has said the imported oil did not meet a certain threshold, hence could not be released into the market,” said Kega.

He added that the consignment should not leave any of the CFSs in the region.

 

“We have ordered as a committee these containers should not be released. We must be sure what is being released into the market is not harmful to our people,” he said.

He said the expiry date for most of the edible oil is May 2020.

“What assurance do we have that the edible oil will be used before the expiry date? How sure are we that the importers will not repackage the oil?” asked Kega.

The committee's vice chairman Cornelly Serem, said a country cannot import a product, whose shelf-life has gone beyond 25 per cent.

“This consignment expires by May next year. It has therefore gone past 25 per cent of its shelf life. As it is now, we are not comfortable in accepting the rest of the containers be released into the market,” said Serem.

He added that the Ministry of Health has also not given a go-ahead for the oil to be released into the local market.

“The ministry of health has not given its concurrence to allow the products to be used locally. We first want to see the input of the health ministry,” he said.