The Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) arrested an Eastleigh-based businessman in an operation to recover condemned sugar that had been released. The businessman was arrested on May 19 while running errands in the Central Business District (CBD). The detectives inquired about his possession of the condemned sugar that originated from Zimbabwe and he led them to his shop in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate. During the operation, 14 bags of sugar were recovered by the police as they continued to search for the remaining bags.
The detectives suspect that the sugar was being repackaged at Eastleigh before being distributed to other parts of the country. According to sources at the investigative agency, there are fears that the sugar may have circulated countrywide. It was discovered that all the 20,000 bags of sugar that had been condemned by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in 2018 were missing. The consignments disappeared at the premises of a company in Thika between March 20 and May 4, where the sugar was to be turned into ethanol.
Meanwhile, senior officials involved in the investigations were called to appear before various committees of parliament after MPs began an inquiry into the matter. President William Ruto suspended senior officials at KEBS including former Managing Director Bernard Njiraini. Over 20 officials remain suspended until the matter is investigated and concluded by the police.
No senior government officials had been arrested over the scandal, however, reports indicate that a cabinet secretary and MP are on the police radar. Head of Public Service Felix Koskei stated that “the consignment was irregularly diverted and unprocedurally released. Further, the conditions relating to open and competitive enlisting of the distiller were breached and the applicable taxes were not paid”.
The sugar scandal has raised concerns about the safety of food products in Kenya. It is important for the government to ensure that food products are safe for consumption and that regulatory agencies such as KEBS are held accountable for their actions. Regular inspections of food products should be carried out to prevent harmful products from reaching consumers.
By ensuring that food products are of good quality, the health and wellbeing of consumers will be safeguarded.