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Kenyan parliament rejects committees’ call to probe ministers over sugar imports – Reports


Nairobi,   –      Kenyan lawmakers have rejected a report by two parliamentary committees
that recommended the finance minister and a cabinet colleague be investigated over their handling
of sugar imports, local newspapers reported on Friday.

The privately-owned Daily Nation and Standard newspapers said lawmakers had voted on Thursday to reject
the joint report by parliament’s agriculture and trade and industries committees, which was
submitted to parliament on Aug. 2.

The committees recommended that Finance Minister Henry Rotich and Adan Mohamed, who is now East African
Community minister but was previously minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, should be
investigated over the sugar imports in 2017.

Neither Rotich nor Mohamed have publicly commented on the report.

Calls to them on Friday went unanswered.

The Kenyan government has undertaken an unprecedented crackdown against what it calls illicit goods,
to help boost the East African country’s manufacturing sector.

The report said Rotich had authorized imports that led to a market oversupply of more than
450,000 tonnes of sugar.

It said Mohamed had failed to supervise the country’s standards agency, which falls under
the ministry he ran, leading to imports of sugar that was not safe for human consumption.

The two did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters when it was published.

Kenya consumes 870,000 tonnes of sugar annually but domestic production has fallen due
to high costs, old and inefficient sugar-crushing machinery, and mismanagement and
theft of farmers’ funds.

Local output was nearly 380,000 tonnes of sugar in 2017, a 41 per cent drop from about
638,000 tonnes a year earlier, largely as a result of a severe drought in the first
quarter of 2017, according to government data.

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