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Sh38m contraband sugar destroyed in Mombasa

The sugar was concealed in 16 containers, each having 500 bags of 50kg sacks of the sugar/FILE

MOMBASA, Kenya, May 12 – The national government on Saturday destroyed Sh38 million contraband sugar, which was being smuggled through the port of Mombasa.

The 400 tonnes of the sugar was dumped in the Indian Ocean in the presence of Trade Cabinet Secretary Aden Mohamed and his Tourism counterpart Najib Balala.

The sugar was imported from Brazil in February 2016 and was declared as machine parts.

It was concealed in 16 containers, each having 500 bags of 50kg sacks of the sugar.

Machine parts are zero-rated, which means they do not attract duty. They only pay Value Added Tax (VAT).

According to the government, Kenya would have lost 100 percent duty if the trader had succeeded in sneaking in the 16 containers.

“Your days are numbered. We will be destroying any contraband good on site here at the port,” said Mohammed.

Trade CS said those who will feel aggrieved by the government’s action are free to move to court.

“We are going to win the war on contrabands,” he said.

Balala said the government is working to ensure Kenyan businesses are protected.

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“The main objective is to build our own manufacturing industry. The moment we allow in goods like these, we destroy our industries, which we will not allow,” said Balala.

Another trick the unscrupulous importers were using was packaging the sugar in Uganda’s Kakira Sugar paper.

However, Mohamed said questioned why sugar from Uganda would come into Kenya through the port of Mombasa.

“Logically, it will come through Western Kenya,” he said.

He said the sugar would have been sold at very low prices in Kenya, therefore killing the local sugar industry.

Mohamed and Balala said they will be back at the port on Wednesday to destroy another 160 containers of mixed contrabands nabbed at the port.

The 160 containers have an assortment of different goods including; foodstuff like macaroni, clothes, cooking oil, among other non-food items.

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