The government has indefinitely suspended and fined two pre-inspecting agencies in Asia for allowing sub-standard goods to enter the Kenyan market.
China Certification and Inspections Group Company (CCIC) and Société Générale de Surveillance SA (SGS) of Switzerland were suspended for failure to inspect goods before they were allowed into the country.
They were also accused of failing to seal inspected containers, which Kenya says was done to facilitate entry of sub-standard and illicit goods. The two firms inspect goods in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand before they are loaded ready for transportation into the Kenyan market.
The CCIC and SGS violated provisions of the legal notice 127 of 128, which requires all inspection agents the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) appoints to issue certificates of conformity in respect to goods that meet the relevant Kenyan standards.
Industry, Trade and Co-operatives secretary Peter Munya said the fine was in millions of shillings but declined to give an exact figure.
“In the face of significant non-performance, the government has suspended activities of the two companies. The bans take place immediately and have been instituted to enable the affected companies put in place corrective measures,” he said yesterday.
Mr Munya added that the government is reviewing the law to include criminal sanctions on any contracted party that violates the contractual obligations and occasions harm to the public using these products.
The Kebs contracted the two companies alongside Cotecna Inspection SA, Bureau Veritas, Intertek International Ltd to inspect goods destined to Kenya from across the globe under the Pre-Export Verification on Conformity programme.
Under the new procedure created in 2005, all consolidated cargo must be inspected in the country of origin by the Kebs-appointed inspection agents and issued with a certificate of inspection before imported to Kenya.
The suspension comes as the government steps up efforts to stem the flow of illicit and sub-standard products into the local market.
The government in April warned that any firm found dealing with contraband products will be blacklisted and its officials outlawed from conducting any business at the Mombasa port.