CS Matiang’i appears before parliament, says can’t confirm sugar has mercury

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i./FILE

Nairobi, KENYA: Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i says sh. 1.2 million bags of contaminated sugar will not be released alongside 72 suspects involved in the illegal importation of contraband sugar.

Speaking before the National Assembly joint committee on Agriculture headed by Adan Hajji Ali and Trade headed by Kanini Kega on Thursday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said that the suspects involved in the illegal importation of sugar will remain behind bars insisting that the crackdown will continue against counterfeit goods is won.

Appearing before joint House Committee probing contraband sugar, Interior CS was non-committal on the suspect ship containing 40,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, that vanished at the port of Mombasa upon requested to produce a certificate, saying it is a complex international investigation.

Matiangi indicated that goods worth sh. 1.2 billion including substandard fertilizer, rice and assorted household items have been nabbed by the government whereby action against it will be fast-tracked.

Interior CS cited porous borders as the biggest challenge in fighting illicit trade as it has aided infiltration of counterfeit and contraband goods in the country.

The CS assured the house committee that stringent security personnel will be deployed to the borders and structures build around the entry points to deal with illicit activities and illegal movement of goods.

The CS assured the country that it is safe from contaminated sugar and clarified that the statement he issues concerning sugar with mercury was cautionary and deterrence against consuming poisonous substances laced with the commodity.

He, however, remained non-committal on whether the contraband sugar nabbed across the country contains mercury.

He told MPs probing the matter that lab tests were still ongoing.

“Chairman am very hesitant to commit myself to a conclusive test. Even as we sit here this morning, our security teams are testing some of the sugar.” Said Matiang’i.