, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21- There are looming changes in the management of the country’s points of entry that will be largely informed by the outcome of an ongoing scrutiny by a team of National Intelligence Service officers.
The casualties of ongoing probe headed by a specially trained spy team will be Government officials among them security officers who have been helping scrupulous business people to evade tax while turning a blind eye to contraband goods.
“Heads will roll,” a senior detective privy to the ongoing activities told Capital FM News on condition of anonymity.
While the Government was all along aware of the contraband menace, the detective said President Uhuru Kenyatta waited for the electioneering period to end before action is taken against the errant officers.
But according to the insider, they needed drastic changes in the criminal justice system before such a crackdown could commence.
The real sugar barons are people highly networked, some within the agencies supposed to stop the menace like the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Revenue Authority and police at the country entry points and so on, according to the detective.
On his part, Interior Ministry spokesperson Mwenda Njoka said the Government is committed to ensuring those who have been compromised are brought to book.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Thursday, the spokesperson revealed that the ongoing operation is intelligence driven and won’t stop until the syndicate, believed to have networks across the board is dismantled.
“You will see a number of people taken to court,” he said.
“As Interior CS (Fred Matiangi) has said, every time we seize contrabands, we will start investigating from where it started to establish who was in charge at the entry point, roadblocks,” he said.
The Government, he said has lost billions of shillings worth of tax to smugglers, while some of the consumable goods expose Kenyans to health hazards.
But the Association of Corporates and Industrial Security Management Professionals spokesperson, Byron Adera – an ex-Kenyan Special Forces officer – says the operation was long overdue while cautioning that kneejerk measures won’t bear any fruits.
“The strategy has several components to it; there is the who, what and the how,” he said.
Detectives involved in the crackdown, he said, “must have answers for who does what. We have the custom and a multi-agency team manning the entry points – KEBS.”
“Then how it is done is very important. Is there great coordination among the multi-agency team involved?” he asked.
“Is there proper intelligence sharing within the multi-agency?
If the government is going to win the war on contrabands, he said they must have a watertight case against the culprits.
“They must have a minimum threshold for any case to actually pass,” he said.
– What we know so far –
Tonnes of sugar and other contrabands have been seized from various warehouses across the country.
Some of the consumable products seized are contaminated according to the government.
Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed has since assured Kenyans that there was no sugar laced with mercury as earlier stated by his interior counterpart Matiangi.
The police insist that the sugar was contaminated with mercury, lead, and copper.
While appearing before the Trade Committee on Thursday, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director Charles Ongwae said.
“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.”
A section of legislators have claimed witch-hunt but the Government has vowed to sustain the operation.