Home / Kenya News / MPs shoot down sugar probe report for second time, defend CSs

MPs shoot down sugar probe report for second time, defend CSs

Parliament has, for the second time, rejected the sugar probe report by the joint committee on Trade and Agriculture.

The committee tabled the report on Thursday but it was shot down on grounds that the team led by Kanini Kega did not conclusively interrogate critical issues raised.

The report recommended that Treasury CS Henry Rotich and former Agriculture CS Willy Bett be investigated for issuing Gazette notices n the importation of sugar and recommending duty waiver for 14 companies that evaded tax worth Sh10 billion.

Majority leader Aden Duale termed the report shoddy and a clear indication of the intention to impeach three pfficials, including former Trade CS Aden Mohamed, without proper evidence.

Duale said it is ironical that the committee proposes that Bett, Rotich and Mohamed be held accountable yet they were not invited to defend themselves before the committee.

He said: “The CSs were acting on an executive order by the President. It was a directive following the drought, so when you say they be held responsible, I ask myself ‘how – is it collectively or individually. If individually, were they invited before the committee?”

Read: Divisions rock MPs probe into unfit sugar

Also read: Fireworks over sugar as MPs reject report

The Garissa Town MP further said the committee did not respond to questions on whether the sugar in the market has mercury or is contaminated by other substances.

His sentiments were echoed by Minority Leader John Mbadi (Suba South) who termed the report “so ridiculous” as it does specify whether the sugar is poisonous.

“They have said in their recommendations that millers, importers and wholesalers be investigated but surprisingly they have not named them. So how can you investigate someone whose name you have not been told?”

Mbadi further said it is absurd for the committee to plot to “sacrifice” the three CSs for the general recommendation they made.

“KEBS, KRA and AFA were to ensure the sugar was fit for human consumption. All the CSs did was issue a gazette notice. Quality and quantity matters were not under their jurisdiction,” Mbadi said.

While tabling the 18-recommendation report, Kega said the committee established that over 829,000 tons of sugar had been imported against the required 130,000.

The committee, however, maintained that no traces of mercury or led were detected by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Kega said the sugar nabbed at a go-down in Eastleigh and Ruai was found to contain excess copper and lead and was deemed unsafe for consumption.

He said 194 companies got involved in importation after Rotich opened a free spectrum through the gazette notice.

“The committee established that the then Agriculture CS issued a notice to the Treasury that 14 companies be given special treatment. Their packaging contravened guidelines and the sugar was stored in unhygienic conditions,” Kega said.

More on this: Sugar probe report not tampered with, MP Kega confirms

Also see: Your sugar has mercury, lab results show

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