Kenya Standards’ officials and others in ‘toxic’ sugar case granted bail

KENYA – Two officials from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) and three directors from companies implicated in illegal and sub-standard sugar importation have been released on bail, reports Daily Nation.

The officials alongside a port health officer have been accused of being involved in the release of 10,000 bags of substandard sugar packed in 50 kilogram bags into the market.

The six have been charged with wilful disobedience of statutory duty by collaboratively releasing to the public bags of Egyptian brown sugar that failed to comply with the requirements of Kenya standards.

KEBs staff were charged with abuse of office for unlawfully authorizing release of the ‘bad’ sugar to Flora Bakers, with moisture content and water insoluble matter exceeding the set standards, thus threatening the health of the public.

They were also charged with breach of trust based on their roles as inspection manager and officer and health officer at the port for releasing contraband sugar at the expense of public health.

KEBs inspection manager and inspection officer were further accused to have entered into agreement with Air Menzies International to permit the release of the cargo into the country.

The inspection manager on the other hand was further charged with wilfully disobeyed statutory duty by failing to ensure full compliance of Section 30(11) of the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act by releasing the goods before obtaining a certificate of the results of the analysis of the samples taken from the said bags of sugar from the Government Chemist.

Though the court had earlier issued warrant of arrest against the directors of Flora Bakers Ltd, it has since lifted it after the two presented themselves in court.

While Flora Bakers is reported to have been involved in the importation of the contaminated sugar, Air Menzies International cleared the sugar when it arrived from Egypt before being stored at Boss Freight Container Station at the Mombasa port.

In June, the government seized consignments of contraband sugar at the port allegedly contaminated with mercury and copper, in addition to several controversies around KEBs sticker marks.

Soon after the standards body confirmed that imported contraband sugar was contaminated with copper, the government went ahead to arrest its Managing Director, together with quality assurance and inspection director and head of the inspection department.

Based on the report by the parliamentary committee on the sugar probe, contamination of the contraband sugar with either copper or mercury remains a puzzle to solve.

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