NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 – The High Court has suspended re-shipment of palm oil products worth over Sh337 million currently being held at the Port of Mombasa.
Justice Chacha Mwita, said the directive by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) ordering the products imported by Master Freighters limited be taken back to the country of origin should now await a determination of an application filed by the company.
“The directive contained in a letter dated 8 August 2018 requiring re-shipment of the petitioner’s products to the country of origin is halted to allow the court hear the challenge posed by the company,” he ruled.
Justice Mwita further directed that the consignment should be taken to a private warehouse under the supervision of KEBS for storage pending hearing of the petition before court.
He stated that it had been demonstrated that there was a violation and abuse of authority by KEBS officials in the order for re-shipment of mainly vegetable cooking oil that had been cleared and duty paid to the Kenya Revenue Authority some two months ago.
The lawyers told the court that the prolonged detention of the products will diminish the presence of vitamin A which is highly sensitive to light and the long storage will cost the company tremendous loss.
They said that KEBS purported to conduct sampling and testing of the products without the involvement of the directors of the company and came up with their own results that is not acceptable by the petitioner.
“The proprietors of the shipping company ought to have been given an opportunity to demonstrate the quality of the products” the court heard.
The lawyers said upon importation of the products, the petitioner complied with the requisite procedures and was issued with clearance by KEBS itself that any directive coming later is malicious and intended to eliminate competition in importation of oil products to the country.
The judge directed that the petition be served upon KEBS and AG and response be filed within 14 days. The matter will be heard inter-partes on October 24, 2018.