President Uhuru Kenyatta’s younger brother is among individuals and companies licensed to import sugar, Parliament has been told.
Protech Investments Company, a firm whose directors are listed as Muhoho Kenyatta and John Stuart Armitage, was among 370 companies Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri named as having sugar import permits.
Mr Armitage is long-time confidant of the Kenyatta family with directorships in their flagship businesses such as Brookside Dairy, Heritage Holdings and Green Park Investments. Protech Company is a registered importer of brown sugar.
Aldai MP Cornelly Serem drew the attention of MPs to the company associated with the Kenyattas during a heated discussion that followed the failure by Interior secretary Fred Matiang'i to appear before the joint committee that is probing importation of sugar for the second time.
“After going through the documents that were tabled yesterday (Monday) by Agriculture CS, I have a reason that could explain why Dr Matiang’i is not here. One company by the name Protech is owned by one of the biggest persons in this country. This could be the reason why Dr Matiang'i is not here. I have a document here that originated from Ministry of Agriculture. The company listed as number 112 is owned by one Muhoho Kenyatta,” Mr Serem said.
Mr Muhoho's company is listed among those that though licensed, did not import sugar during last year's duty- free window. The National Assembly’s joint committees of Agriculture and Trade are investigating importation of duty-free sugar some of which have been found to have impurities.
Joint chairpersons Kanini Kega and Mohamed Haji cut Mr Serem short and directed that the matter be discussed when the committee meets all companies and directors that have been adversely mentioned on Thursday.
“We will insist that all directors of companies that imported sugar during the duty- free window appear before us on Thursday. The issue today is on Dr Matiang’is failure to appear before us. Let’s try and refrain from digressing from today’s meeting,” Mr Kega said.
The committee summoned Dr Matiang’i to appear without fail tomorrow morning to shed light on his claims that a consignment of the imported sugar was laced with mercury, copper and lead.
Dr Matiang’i skipped the meeting but sent a letter dated June 26, 2018 asking MPs to reschedule the meeting as he was involved in President Kenyatta’s meeting with East African Community heads of state.
“On account of the Cabinet Secretary’s active involvement in the ongoing EAC Heads of States Summit, he requests deferment of his appearance before the committee. We therefore request that the committee reschedules the meeting to a later date,” Karanja Kibicho, the principal secretary, wrote in a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly.
Mr Kenyatta is hosting Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) as well as a Special Envoy of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan for the 14th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.