MPs want CS Bett , Keter charged over sugar scandal


Nairobi, KENYA: A section of Members of Parliament have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to form a commission of inquiry to investigate the sugar menace rocking the country.

In a media briefing at parliamentary buildings led by Lugari Member of Parliament Ayub Savula, they said that there is a need for the formation of such inquiry to have an in-depth look of the sugar crisis and ultimately come up with a report on the same.

“But a commission of inquiry does not report to DPP, a commission of inquiry goes directly and prosecutes the culprits in court, and the only person mandated to form the commission of inquiry is not the speaker of the National Assembly is the president,” Savula said.

The legislators said that Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his former counterpart in Agriculture Willy Bett must answer claims of allowing 14 companies to import sugar duty-free despite the expiry of the waiver period.

Savula named 14 companies involved in the importation of 71,041 metric tons contraband sugar which they said will cost taxman approximately sh. 10 billion.

According to the MPs, Mr. Rotich and Mr. Bett compelled the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to release the sugar which was supposed to be taxed 100 percent duty.

“We are in possession of documents directly pointing at Mr. Rotich pleading on behalf of the 14 companies to be exempted from tax and released to the market through the port of Mombasa,” said Savula.

Mr. Rotich issued a gazette notice in May 2017 allowing importation of sugar and milk duty-free up to August 31 for purposes of stabilizing prices of the two commodities.

Following the lapse of the duty waiver window, Mr. Bett in a September 2017 letter to Mr. Rotich recommended that the 14 sugar importers should not be locked out and their consignment cleared duty-free.

The MPs are now demanding that the 14 sugar importers pay full duty for sugar imported after gazette notice 4536 expired.

They also want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to take up the matter and ensure the culprits are prosecuted promptly.