Story by Aris Wanyonyi.
The management of Rai paper mills in Webuye were unable to explain how unfit sugar for consumption found its way to their warehouse.
A national parliamentary committee of Trade and Industrialization on October 14 wanted the Rai family who are the sole owners of Rai paper to offer an explanation on how contraband sugar found its way to their factory.
This is after the committee paid a surprise visit to Rai paper mills go down in an effort to see how the said sugar was seized two years ago.
Led by the committee chairman Kanini Kega who doubles up as Kieni Mp, the committee put the management to task on how the 60,000 bags of unfit sugar found its way into their godown.
A consignment of illicit sugar worth Sh250 million was on June 13, 2017 impounded in the warehouses of Pan African Paper Mills in Webuye, Bungoma County.
The sugar was in 59,000 bags each 50kgs (approx. 2,450 tonnes).
Upon further inquiry, it was alleged the sugar belonged to West Kenya Sugar Company, Kakamega labelled “BROWN SUGAR. NOT FOR SALE.
“Because there was no documentation to show the origins of the sugar, its destination or ownership, the Multi-Agency Security team resolved that the warehouse be placed under 24-hour police guard awaiting joint verification by other relevant agencies,” said an officer in the ministry of internal security who visited the scene at the time.
The workers at Rai paper were repackaging tonnes of contraband sugar when it was seized.
Word went round that the management of West Kenya sugar company had shipped in hundreds of tonnes of raw sugar and they were repackaging it at the Rai paper warehouse.
Criminal Investigations Officers had unravelled the syndicate where the management of West Kenya sugar company were ferrying illegal sugar and storing it at the Rai paper which is owned by the same company.
In addition the Kenya Bureaue of Standards (KEBS) fraternity together with their (National Environment Management Authority (NEMAl counterparts were also ordered to explain on why they never destroyed the said consignment of sugar.
In their defence NEMA officials said that it lacked specialised equipment to destroy the sugar.
The committee also conducted further investigations at the West Kenya sugar company head quarter at Butali in Kakamega county where reprocessing of imported sugar is carried out with a minimum of 2,000 bags per day.
The committee has now given KEBS an ultimatum of 14 days to carry out further tests before presenting it to the committee for tabling before Parliament.
On the other hand Kega said that if the government will not control the rate of importation of cheap sugar, then the local Kenyan industries might collapse for good.