, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 21 – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) now says there were no traces of mercury in the sugar samples seized by the multi agency task force on contraband goods.
Appearing before the Trade Committee on Thursday, Managing Director Charles Ongwae stated that this followed a heavy metals test on the samples.
He explained that the first batch of the results were shared with the Directorate of Criminal Investigation and more will be shared as soon as the remaining tests are completed.
“The sugar samples were tested against EAS 749:210, the sugar samples were further tested for heavy metals contaminants as a result of public outcry and no mercury was detected. I want to be very specific that no mercury has been detected in the samples that we have tested,” he said.
He further pointed out that imported sugar is normally tested in the country of origin and at the point of entry.
“For sugar to be cleared at the point of entry, the following government agencies must approve release based on their individual requirements. The KRA for customs and tax issues, KEBS for quality, Port health for food safety, Sugar directorate top confirm that they actually issued that license and the radiation protection board for safety and the Kenya Port Authority for logistics,” he stated.
His sentiments are in line with what Trade Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed but sharply differs with Interior CS Fred Matiangi, leaving Kenyans with questions on who is telling the truth and why government agencies are speaking a different language.
“We are a professional body, we say things as we see them. In science it’s possible that if you test another sample you might get different results but based on the samples we tested the results are as we have given,” he added.
He further stated that the body was undertaking various initiatives to ensure it becomes effective in the way it works. “Over the last 40 years we have covered some ground; not all, that is why you will see some of these product in the market.”
Matiangi had announced that the sugar had mercury while quoting tests from the Government Chemist, but the claims were refuted Wednesday, by his Industrialization counterpart.
The sugar – mainly from Brazil – was seized in Eastleigh estate in Nairobi and suspects arrested.
Adan was speaking while answering questions from MPs in the Trade and Investment committee, chaired by Kanini Kega.
He has challenged anyone with evidence of mercury in contraband sugar to present it to the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
The Interior CS made the shocking revelations on June 13.
It is during the briefing at the DCI that Matiangi said he was willing to pay the ultimate price, but clear the menace.