Lawmakers to quiz four Cabinet secretaries on contraband sugar

Treasury cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Agriculture counterpart Mwangi Kiunjuri./FILE
Treasury cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Agriculture counterpart Mwangi Kiunjuri./FILE

Four Cabinet secretaries are today expected to be questioned by MPs over contraband sugar that has flooded the market.

CSs Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), Henry Rotich (National Treasury), Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Adan Mohammed (Trade) will appear in Parliament to shed light on the matter that has sparked fear among Kenyans.

National Assembly Trade and Agriculture committees chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega and Mandera South MP Adan Haji, respectively, will jointly probe the ministers.

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“We have decided to start probing the ‘big fish’ on this issue before we zero-in on the small fish. We will seek adequate information because we don’t want to lose focus on the investigations,” Haji said.

EXPLANATIONS

National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale (Garissa Township) and his Samburu West counterpart Naisula Lesuuda will also be quizzed. Duale is expected to expound on the list of companies he tabled in the National Assembly on Wednesday, while Lesuuda is expected to give details on her statement about the scandal.

“We are not only investigating whether the sugar is laced with mercury, but also if the said companies involved in this scandal evaded tax. Agencies which conducted the tests is expected to provide the information,” Kega said.

Companies involved in the importation of the ‘poisonous sugar’ and some members of the public have been invited to appear before the committee on Thursday.

IMPROMTPU VISITS

The committee will visit all the warehouses holding the illicit sugar tomorrow and Wednesday.

The team wants the multi-agency group probing the matter to safeguard the warehouses before it conducts the impromptu visits.

Haji said the team should guard against “mysterious disappearance of the sugar”.

“The fear that those impounded products might disappear from the stores before we even conduct our field visit is real,” he said.

“We need to come up with a strategy to compel various organs probing the matter to secure those stores.”

Aldai MP and vice chairman of the Trade committee, Cornelly Serem, said they will collect samples of the sugar and send it to the Government Chemist.

“What Kenyans need to know is whether the sugar in the market is safe,” Serem said.

But Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua interjected, “Do you sincerely imagine the sugar is in those warehouses? You will find nothing if you go there.”

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