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November 18, 2018

Three customs staff arraigned over bad sugar

Stephen Ochieng, Monica Wacheke and Vivian Moraa in court yesterday /MALEMBA MKONGO
Stephen Ochieng, Monica Wacheke and Vivian Moraa in court yesterday /MALEMBA MKONGO

Three Kenya Revenue Authority staff have been charged with clearing substandard Egyptian brown sugar.

Vivian Moraa, Monica Wacheke and Stephen Ochieng were charged with three counts involving the release of the sugar. The three, who are a head verification officer and two verification officers of customs, were accused of unlawfully authorising the release of 5,000 bags of 50kg of brown sugar and moisture content of the same amount.

They allegedly released the sugar to Flora Bakers Limited knowing it would put the public’s health at risk.

The accused were further charged that on diverse dates between June 29 and July 11, they jointly disobeyed the laws by causing the release of 10,000 bags of 50kg of sugar.

The sugar is said to have failed to comply with Kenya’s standards and was expected to be destroyed.

The KRA officials faced another charge of abuse of office.

They allegedly abused their offices by unlawfully authorising the release of substandard brown sugar with moisture content and water insoluble matter which was not safe for public consumption.

They denied all the charges before resident magistrate Martin Rabera. The crime was allegedly committed at Boss Freight Container station at the Kilindini port in Mombasa. 

Consolidation

The accused, through their lawyer Jared Magolo, urged the court to grant them reasonable bail terms.

Magolo said the accused were KRA officers whose mandate did not include confirming whether the sugar was fit for consumption and therefore their bail should be fair.

However, state prosecutor Wangare Mwaura urged the court to apply the same conditions placed against six people and two companies charged last week with similar counts.

She further sought orders that the matter be consolidated with last week’s matter.

Last week, Samwel Omolo, Daniel Khamba, Peter Nzui, Ali Abdi, Hassan Abdi and Abdullahi Abdi were charged alongside two companies - Flora Bakers Limited and Air Menzies - with eight counts including abuse of office, releasing sugar unfit for consumption among other charges.

Mentioning

Rabera ordered their release on a Sh1.5 million bond with one surety with an alternative of Sh500,000 bail.

Rabera barred the accused from going to their work stations at the Kilindini port.

He further directed they report to the Port police DCI once per week. He also ordered the accused deposit their passports at the investigation officer’s office.

The matter will be mentioned on September 6.

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