Uhuru’s young brother Muhoho did not import any sugar – Kiunjuri
Aldai MP Cornelly Serem and a regulatory organisation under the Agriculture ministry faced the wrath of Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s brother was implicated in the bad sugar imports scandal.
Mr Kiunjuri, the Agriculture CS, on Wednesday turned the heat on Mr Serem, vowing to file a protest with the Powers and Privileges Committee over the latter’s move to name Mr Muhoho Kenyatta and his firm, Protech Investment Ltd, as having imported a significant amount of sugar.
“You cannot be allowed to go and sit in Parliament and in a crude way, using a village approach, and decide that you want to malign the names of others and get off scot-free,” Mr Kiunjuri told journalists at a press conference at Kilimo House.
“Even if he goes and stands on top of a tree or a mountain and says what he wants to speak, investigations have to go on,” added Mr Kiunjuri.
The CS did not deny the MP’s claim that the company is co-owned by the President’s brother. He, however, said that the firm did not import “a single grain of sugar”.
“In fact, the company has never imported any type of sugar,” he said.
Mr Kiunjuri also had a bone to pick with Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) as he demanded an explanation on why the company’s name was in the list he filed on Monday.
He told journalists that Protech Investment applied for an importation licence in 2011 but had never received communication from AFA on whether it had been approved or not.
As such, the minister argued, Protech appearing in the list of 370 names of sugar importers was anomalous because it legally did not have a licence.
“The information I have, and I have sought clarification from AFA, is that this company applied in 2011, not 2013. This company applied and never received any communication from AFA on whether they have succeeded or not.
“They are also surprised to read their name in the press when it was mentioned by the said member. Therefore, it is a subject of investigations,” he said.
The former Laikipia East MP said that he would not leave his office on Wednesday until he established how Protech became part of the list.
“Even if I will be in office until 12 am or the whole night, I’m not leaving office until I get all the facts,” he vowed. “I have to know how the name got into the list that we took to Parliament,” he said.
Mr Kiunjuri’s defending of Mr Muhoho came against the backdrop of his appearance before a joint Trade and Agriculture committee on Monday. In his presentation he provided the list of 370 firms.
VETTING SUGAR IMPORTERS
“This is the list compiled by AFA whose Sugar Directorate has the sole mandate of vetting sugar importers to ensure that they meet the stipulated requirements,” said the minister yesterday.
“They [Protech] are wondering when they were allowed to import sugar yet they were never told that they have the licence,” he added. “Never did I assume that I can get a list of even the applicants.”
The Aldai MP singled out Protech, which he said was number 112 of the 370, during a Tuesday session of the joint committee.
“That could be a reason [Interior CS Fred] Matiang’i is not here because he is afraid,” he said at a stormy session.
His utterances have rattled Mr Kiunjuri, who did not hide his disdain in yesterday’s briefing.
“If there is a person who had sent him, let him go and report that that is not enough. Let him go and carry a truckload of lies and spill them all over Kenya, but the fight against corruption will go on,” he said.
“Either you are acting for somebody or not. There is no dog without an owner. If you see a dog barking, it has an owner,” added the CS.
In any case, Mr Kiunjuri noted, not all the companies among the listed imported sugar when the Treasury opened a duty-free importation window in May 2017.
Responding to queries that there is sugar shortage in some parts of Kenya because some sellers were afraid of selling their stocks, Mr Kiunjuri said it cannot be possible.
“We have enough sugar in this country that can take us as far as October or November of this year,” he said.