Parliamentary committee on Trade and Industry is probing how 139 40 feet containers of edible oil were sneaked out of a private Container Freight station (CFS).
The committee led by Chair Hon Adan Haji Ali (Mandera South MP), toured portside CFS after it emerged 88 out 139 containers were released after the owners of the cooking oil asked the government to release the oil to the soap manufacturers to mitigate possible total losses.
During an inspection exercise to review the storage of the 139 containers of cooking edible oil from Malaysia was intercepted in 2019 after Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and other government Multi-Agencies raised a red flag on the bases that the consignment lacked Vitamin A and it was not fit for human consumption.
During the verification of the containers were open, to the surprise of the Parliamentary committee all were empty.
According to the Directorate of criminal investigations (DCI), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the owner of Portside CFS the owners of the goods had asked the government to release the edible oil to the soap manufactures in order to mitigate losses and by the time the parliamentary committee raise the red flag 88 containers had already left.
Addressing the media after verification the committee chair Hon Adan Haji Ali, said they were shocked to learn 88 containers have been sneaked out of the CFS to the local market.
Hon Adan called upon the DCI to speed up their investigations to unravel how the condemned oil ended up in the local market and prosecute the culprits behind the theft syndicate.
“There should be no sacred cow, we are aware this facility belongs to a prominent businessman in Mombasa who is also a top politician but the law is blind. The law that applies to ordinary Mwananchi should apply to all of us,” said Adan.
Earlier before coming for physical verification, the Committee sought answers from the Ministry and the Multi-Agency taskforce on the rationale behind the decision to seize goods belonging to a number of traders, the ownership of the seized goods, location of storage and quantities of the seized goods, among other questions.
On 11th May, 2021, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 44(2)(c), the Hon. John Kiarie, MP (Dagoretti South Constituency) requested the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to undertake an inquiry and report on the status of products seized by the Multi Agency Team in the financial years 2017/2018/ and 2018/2019.
On his part Hon. John Kiarie confirmed during the first launch of investigation by the committee there were 139 containers of the condemned edible oil.
“Today as we were doing investigations through random sampling we have established that out of 139 containers,88 had been allegedly released to the market to be reused in the manufacture of soap and the remaining have a suspicious custody on how they left the CFS,” Said Kiarie.
Kiarie said now the committee is seeking to establish the chain of custody from where the goods were loaded, whether there was a standard check during the loading, how they were offloaded to the alleged CFS.
The Dagoretti South Constituency legislature further said they need clarifications from the Multi-Agency team who were involved in overseeing the exercise of the condemned edible oil.
The Committee is in Mombasa to undertake physical inspection visits to about 8 CFS storage facilities to ascertain the status of the seized goods.