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22.3 tonnes of counterfeit sugar confiscated in Nairobi’s Kayole

The sugar, which was found in a retailer shop identified by police as Ventures Green Store, was found packed in bags of 50-kilogram bags/FILE – DCI

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – Detectives in Kayole have confiscated 446 bags of counterfeit sugar in Chokaa area, as part of the sustained war on contraband goods.

The sugar, which was found in a retailer shop identified by police as Ventures Green Store, was found packed in bags of 50-kilogram bags.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said five suspects were nabbed during the operation on Thursday evening.

“The sugar which is believed to be from the Western Region was indicated not for sale. Exhibits secured and samples collected for further analysis,” he said.

The five suspects, four men and a woman, were found repackaging the sugar labeled as “not for sale’.

Detectives took samples of the sugar believed to be from the Western region of the country and took them to the government chemist for analysis, in a bid to determine whether it is fit for human consumption.

Over time, detectives have confiscated thousands of tonnes of sugar and other contraband goods, in a crackdown against contraband goods and tax evasion.

It is the proliferation of contraband goods, often from neighbouring Somalia and Tanzania, that has crippled local sugar industries with most State-owned sugar mills struggling to stay afloat.

A privatization commission is currently exploring modalities of converting the entities to privately owned mills.

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DCI Kinoti recently linked the increased use of contraband goods to lifestyle diseases among them cancer, though he did not provide any scientific proof.

The Kinoti-led police department also alleged that some contraband sugar confiscated early 2018 had mercury sending shivers among Kenyans worried over the rising cases of cancer deaths.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in June 2018 refuted claims by DCI saying there were no traces of mercury in the sugar samples seized by a multi-agency taskforce against contraband goods.

“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,” the then KEBS Managing Director Charles Ongwae said.

Corruption among law enforcers working in cahoots with rogue retailers has been attributed for the menace.

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