West Kenya Sugar firm defends itself over contraband products claim

Contraband goods destroyed kpa
Tourism CS Najib Balala, his Industrialisation counterpart Adan Mohamed, former KPA managing director Catherine Mturi and Industrialisation PS Dr Chris Kiptoo at the Mombasa port for the destruction of 400 tonnes of contraband sugar from Dubai, May 12, 2018. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG 

The management of West Kenya Sugar Company has sought to set the record straight on reports linking the miller to importation of suspect contraband sugar.

The miller said it had imported a consignment of bulk brown sugar for processing at its factory in Kakamega County after being licensed by the Agriculture Food Authority along with other companies.

The managing director Mr Tejveer Rai on Tuesday said the miller had nothing to do with the illegal importation of the contraband sugar and was operating above board.

He assured the public that sugar produced by the miller was safe for use contrary to reports in the media and social media platforms.

The miller blamed unscrupulous traders and counterfeiters of importing contraband products and repackaging them using the miller’s branded name.


Supports ongoing probe

Consequently, West Kenya Sugar said it supported ongoing investigations to unravel the truth about the cartels involved in illegal importation and dumping of contraband sugar.

Mr Rai said the miller decided to import the brown sugar for processing in the wake of a shortage of raw material due to a drought reported in 2016/17 period that affected normal supply of cane to the factory.

“The bulk brown sugar that we imported is placed in quality-controlled, white woven bags which have an inner water-resistant liner. The bags are marked ‘NOT FOR SALE’’ as that sugar requires further processing to our exacting standards before it is released to the consumer market.

“As we imported bulk brown sugar it was a condition by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) that the same should be further processed at the factory in Kakamega,” said Mr Rai.

Duty exemption

This was after the government, through the Kenya Gazette Notice Number 4356 (published on 12th May 2017), granted a four-month duty exemption for sugar imports up to 31st August 2017.

“The importation of sugar involves Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) certification from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) who work with international quality assurance companies to certify that the sugar conforms to Kebs’ KS EAS749:2010 standard.

“The Kenya Revenue authority is also involved to ensure that all requisite taxes are paid. ISO 9001 - 2008 Certified,” Mr Rai said in a statement to the media.