NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – The National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee plans to summon various stakeholders and State agencies to shed light on the alleged presence of poisonous sugar in the market.
Chair of the committee Adan Ali said among those the committee has lined up to probe next Monday include Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiangi (Interior), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), Adan Mohammed (Industrialization) and Henry Rotich (Treasury).
Other top officials targeted by the committee for probing are those from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Directors of Hydroband and Diamond Wholesalers suspected to have supplied the lethal sugar.
Addressing a media briefing at Parliament buildings on Wednesday, Ali said the presence of the alleged poisonous sugar in the market is a time bomb that will eventually lead to a health disaster and challenged relevant policing authorities not to treat the matter lightly.
“Rest assured the committee will get to the bottom of the issue and we will make it our agenda and ensure that the criminals are charged in a court of law,” he said.
The Mandera South lawmaker said other well connected lawmakers who have been linked with the sugar crisis will also be summoned to explain their role in the distribution of the lethal sugar in the market.
Ali downplayed claims of an existence of trade wars between traders and insisted that the availability of the toxic sugar in the market was real and needed to be resolved urgently.
“This sugar situation should not be politicized. As a committee we will look at this matter with a lot of seriousness it deserves because Kenyan lives are at stake,” said Ali.
He said the existence of the adulterated sugar in the market was a deliberate attempt by the cartels to kill the genuine sugar milling companies in the country such as Mumias, Nzoia and Muhoroni sugar companies at the expense of local farmers.
Ali however took a swipe at Matiangi accusing him of parading ‘small fish’ through exhibiting raids of stores in various stores in the country leaving the big timers to go scot-free.
“Matiangi should stop the side-shows; Kenyans want to see the real culprits get arrested. The raids are just mere public relations stunts which do not help much,” he said.
But, Ali urged CS Matiangi to secure the already identified stores that have the contaminated sugar in a bid to block any further penetration of the commodity into the market.
“We are requesting the Director of Criminal Investigations through Matiangi to ensure the stores with the suspected poisonous sugar remain closed and secured as investigations get underway,” he said.
Budalang’i MP Raphael Wanjala demanded that those implicated in the scandal should be prosecuted, describing the sugar barons as murderess who had no conscious.
“The criminals should be identified and taken to court and the Judge should categorically lay down their charges and punish them heavily,” he said.
Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to be firm and committed in rooting out graft in the country.
Mutua said with a political goodwill the vice will be eliminated and that the corrupt individuals will eventually fall.
The presence of the poisonous sugar in the market was brought to the fore by Matiangi who claimed last week that sugar in the market is contaminated by mercury and copper.
As a result, the government is conducting raids at stores in the country suspected to store the toxic sugar.