Mwangi Kiunjuri Blames Cross Contamination for Imported Poisoned Sugar

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri on Monday told the joint National Assembly committee on Trade, Industry and Agriculture that the sugar with mercury traces was probably contaminated en route from Brazil.

According to the CS, the ship used to ferry the sugar had also carried fertilizer and coal, as such, cross contamination was the likely cause of the copper, lead and alleged mercury found in the samples tested.

The CS who held lengthy discussions with the committee explained that the ships were rarely cleaned and due to their open nature, exposed sugar to adulteration.

Defending his team, CS Kiunjuri blamed Treasury CS Henry Rotich for issuing a gazette notice that allowed excess importation of sugar due to duty-free allowance.

[caption caption="A container ship from Malta ferrying goods"][/caption]

He argued that the gazette notice dated May 2017 relaxed restrictions placed on importers leading to the influx.

CS Kiunjuri, however, noted that Mr Rotich only issued the directive following an edict by President Uhuru Kenyatta to allow duty-free imports of maize, sugar and powdered milk.

He also blamed the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for clearing blacklisted companies to import sugar.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, CS Rotich and Industrialization CS Adan Mohamed are also scheduled to appear before the committee.

According to committee chairs Kanini Kega (Kieni MP) and Adan Haji (Mandera South MP), the team will on Tuesday and Wednesday make impromptu visits to the warehouses where the impounded sugar is currently being held.

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi is on record, calling for a judicial inquiry instead of the ongoing parliamentary investigations which he claims will achieve very little.

[caption caption="Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri during a 2015 appearance before parliament"][/caption]