Firm’s sugar import puzzle

MPs question why Agriculture ministry, Treasury disregarded House’s 2015 decision blacklisting company

Members of the National Assembly want to know how State agencies allowed a company blacklisted by Parliament to import 35,000 metric tonnes of brown sugar.

The legislators who sit in the joint committee investigating the contraband sugar saga yesterday questioned why the  Agriculture  ministry, National Treasury and Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) disregarded the House’s  2015 decision blacklisting the firm.

Members demanded to know whether the Mombasa-based Hydery (P) Limited, whose director is Naushad Merali, was aware that the 11th Parliament, through the Agriculture committee, had recommended that its licence be revoked.

Firm blacklisted

The then committee had blacklisted the firm after it imported 3,000 metric tonnes of sugar without permit from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in 2013.

Committee also observed that in 2013/14, KRA allowed into the country, 15,140 metric tonnes without permit from Kenya Sugar Board. 

The culprit companies were; Hydrey (P), Krish Commodities Ltd, Reeswood Enterprises, Shake Distributors Limited and Shree Sai Industries.

The revelations came on the day Khwisero MP Aseka Wandaya filed a motion to suspend the importation of sugar, saying it was hurting the local industry.

MPs also sought to know whether sugar brought in by the company went through the right process, including testing for any impurities, before it was allowed into the market.

Further, the committee also questioned how the company was given a three-year contract to supply fertiliser against procurement laws that limit contracts to one year.

Led by the joint chair Kanini Kega (Kieni) and Adan Haji (Mandera South), the committee further sought to know whether the sugar brought in bulk was bagged in 50kg bags at the port before transportation.

Kega said today (Tuesday) the committee would ask AFA and Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to explain why they failed to implement the House decision.

Busia Woman Rep Florence Mutua, who chaired the sub-committee in which Hydery (P) Limited general manager Mohamed Kalian appeared, sought to know whether the committee should believe Merali yet his company imported sugar despite its licence being revoked.

Moiben MP Silas Tiren wondered why the firm was handed a three-year contract to supply fertiliser against procurement laws.

But Merali told the committee he was not aware of such move, adding that his licence was still valid.

“I am actually very shocked. I do not know what you are talking about because I am not aware of this. Our licence is still very valid, nothing from KRA bars us,” he said.

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