NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – DCI detectives on Tuesday seized tonnes of expired rice during a raid at a go-down in the sprawling Kariobangi Estate.
DCI Director George Kinoti said he authorised the security operation on receiving a tip-off about activities at Kimende Stores where the rice was being re-packaged into small packets of popular brands.
“It is a very dangerous trend where traders re-package expired foodstuffs for sale instead of disposing them off,” Kinoti told Capital FM News, “We have recovered tonnes of the expired rice.”
He said the brownish rice was being re-packed from bags bearing a 2019 expiry date into new bags marked 2021.
“We are working with various agencies, including officials from the Public Health Department and the Kenya Bureau of Standards in this investigation and certainly people will be prosecuted,” Kinoti said.
When Capital FM crew arrived at the go-down, detectives were sifting through documents, as others searched the two-storey building that can easily pass as a residential house. More than 20 DCI officers were involved in the operation.
Two suspects, a manager and a worker, at the go-down were arrested and handcuffed.
Even though the detectives at the scene allowed journalists into the premise, they declined to give a comment and instead referred us to Kinoti or his office for any clarification.
“We are not allowed to speak to the media, please contact our boss,” one senior officer who was heading the operation told us.
Kinoti said more suspects are being sought, including owners of the go-down.
Also seized were packages of cooking oil and sugar which Kinoti said will be subjected to further tests to determine suitability for human consumption. Police said they believe the rice was imported from Mauritius.
Tuesday’s seizure is the latest in the renewed crackdown on contraband goods, having started in mid-2018 with several suspects arrested and arraigned in court.
It is a vicious fight that made Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi once vow that he was ready to pay the ‘ultimate price’ to ensure he gets rid of the menace, which he said denies the government billions of shillings in taxes.
“I am not under any illusion that we are engaged in a very serious war. A war that could means anything, it could mean even the lives of these officers and some of us,” Matiangi told reporters on June 2018, when Kinoti displayed tones of the sugar imported illegally from Brazil.
“It is a complex war”, the CS said, “that may not spare the detectives involved in the ongoing crackdown.”
Several top officials from the Kenya Bureau of Standards are battling charges in court over the matter.