400 BAGS

Garissa police intercept contraband sugar

The driver fled when the vehicle was flagged down.

In Summary

• The 25kg bags were labelled Brazilian brown sugar.

• The destination of the sugar is unknown.

Contraband sugar that was intercepted by the police at Diiso along the Modogashe-Modika road near Garissa
Contraband sugar that was intercepted by the police at Diiso along the Modogashe-Modika road near Garissa
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Police in Garissa on Tuesday intercepted 400 bags of contraband sugar in Nuno on the Modika-Modogashe road.

The 25kg bags were labelled Brazilian brown sugar.

Garissa county police commander Alfred Ongengo said officers acting on intelligence reports waylaid the vehicle carrying the consignment.

"As the vehicle approached Nuno, police officers flagged it down. But the driver fled and disappeared in a nearby bush. The officers took the car to Garissa police station," Ongengo said.

Police are still hunting for the driver and the owner of the vehicle. "We are optimistic they will be arrested soon," he said.

Ongengo said the destination of the sugar is unknown. Preliminary investigations show it was being taken to a wholesale belonging to a prominent businessman who has several stores in the town.

The Star has learnt that some rogue government officials are working with businessmen to bring uncustomed goods into the country illegally.

A customs officer, who spoke to the Star in confidence, said government officials collude with traders who import contraband sugar to avoid detection or arrest by "uncooperative officers".

Ongengo said they will step up operations to ensure contraband goods do not find their way into the country.

"I want to warn people who are still involved in this illegal business that their days are numbered. We are alert to ensure no more uncustomed goods get into our market," he said.

 

In March, police in Garissa impounded a truck loaded with contraband sugar along the Disso-Garissa road.

The 360 bags, believed to be from Somalia, were destined for wholesale stores in Garissa town.

Northeastern regional commissioner Mohamed Birik warned that stern action will be taken against officers found facilitating the entry of contraband goods.

Birik said the state is aware that a few elements are frustrating efforts to end illegal importation of goods. 

“Disciplinary action will be taken against them, including dismissal and being taken to court. This time round we are serious, heads will roll,” he said.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba and Dadaab MP Mohamed Dahiye are among leaders who have persistently been calling for the reopening of the border with Somalia to allow free trade.