Wage rough war on contraband sugar pirates to save industry - Mudavadi

Some of the sugar that was seized on Mombasa Road, while being transported to Nairobi's Eastleigh area, at the DCI headquarters, June 13, 2018. /COURTESY
Some of the sugar that was seized on Mombasa Road, while being transported to Nairobi's Eastleigh area, at the DCI headquarters, June 13, 2018. /COURTESY

The war against dealers in contraband must be fought as roughly as that against looters of public coffers, Nasa principal

Musalia Mudavadi has said.

At least 25 people have been arrested across the country and are to be arraigned on Tuesday for dealing in contraband sugar.

On Monday night,

a multi-agency team contemplated the arrest of senior government officials, politicians and business people linked to tonnes of sugar impounded countrywide.

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Mudavadi, who is Amani National Congress leader, said the government "must uproot the masterminds within it and institutions set up against counterfeits".

In a statement on Tuesday, he claimed that the contraband sugar in the country resulted from the

collusion of "rotten senior government officers" and law enforcement agencies.

"It isn’t imaginable that counterfeiters, especially in sugar, can have such freedom to flood the country."

"[The officers and agencies] together with the counterfeiters are killers with no regard for life when they poison sugar and sell it to Kenyans.

Mudavadi said the government should not relax in the fight against contraband sugar pirates as industries will collapse if it does.

"The industry is on the brink of collapse. Radical measures [must be] taken immediately to salvage it. The regulator, the Agriculture Fisheries and Food Authority, has failed to tame the forces responsible."

The ANC boss claimed the operations of fraudsters and their cohorts in government are evident.

"They are part of the fermenters of the collapse of sugar industry.

The Sugar industry is in ICU and the fraudsters are switching off the oxygen," he said.

"Contraband sugar did not just happen to flood the market. Smugglers and their cohorts in government were tipped and anticipated that the commodity will be tax exempt hence the rush to import the poisonous contraband."

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Mudavadi further urged Parliament

not to be blind to the impact of taxes on basic commodities hidden in the Finance Bill.

"They must expunge aspects of the Bill that are tailor-made to encourage corruption, smuggling and pirating," he said.

Earlier, the Health ministry asked counties to randomly sample and test sugar as part of efforts to protect the public from contraband and its effects.

The instruction also applies to food products.

In a letter to all

county public health officers, that was marked urgent and sent on June 18, the ministry notes concern about sugar found to contain mercury and copper.

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