In a decisive move to address the issue of contaminated sugar entering the market, President William Ruto has suspended 27 government officials linked to various state agencies.
The suspensions come in the wake of the disappearance of 20,000 bags of contaminated sugar that had been condemned by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) but allegedly found its way into circulation.
The Head of Public Service, Felix Koskei, made the announcement of the suspensions on Wednesday, May 17, stating that the President had been fully briefed on the matter.
The sugar in question had been imported in 2018 but was flagged by KEBS as unfit for human consumption. Consequently, KEBS ordered that the sugar be destroyed at the owner’s expense.
According to the statement by Koskei, the consignment was supposed to be converted for industrial ethanol usage under the joint supervision of KEBS and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) through a multi-agency framework.
However, the process was not carried out, resulting in the irregular diversion and release of the sugar into the Kenyan market.
“It has since been established that the consignment was irregularly diverted and unprocedurally released.
Further, the conditions relating to open and competitive enlisting of the distiller were breached, and the applicable taxes were not paid,” stated Koskei.
With these suspensions, President Ruto demonstrates his commitment to tackling corruption and ensuring accountability within the government.
The investigations into the contaminated sugar scandal are expected to shed light on the irregularities surrounding its release and diversion, providing clarity on the actions that led to its distribution in the Kenyan market.