Friday May 10, 2019
Security agencies on Friday destroyed contraband goods valued at Sh5 million in Mandera.
The contraband is believed to have been sneaked to Mandera from Somalia by unscrupulous traders.
Mandera county commissioner Kutswa Olaka who led a multi-agency team in the destruction said the move follows a court order that the goods be destroyed.
A local court had earlier ruled that the goods do not meet health standards set by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
Olaka said the government cannot compromise the health of citizens by allowing non-inspected goods to be sold to wananchi. He said the traders had also not paid tax for the goods.
"We grow our economy using taxes collected from import duty and other forms of taxation and it will be wrong to allow people to sneak goods in the name of cheapness," Olaka said.
He spoke at Qarbakole dumpsite where the contraband was set ablaze.
"I have had discussions with officials of the Kenya Chambers of Commerce and they assured me they have the capacity of availing cheap goods to residents, so these ones from Somalia are of no help to us," Olaka said.
He said those found sneaking contraband will be taken to court and their vehicles forfeited to the state.
The assorted goods included wheat and maize flour, sugar, cooking fat, detergents and other household goods. They were impounded by a multi-agency security team including Kenya Defence Forces, KRA officials and the police.
The goods had been stored at the KRA warehouse at the common border with Somalia.
Residents have criticised the decision to destroy the goods saying they could have been distributed to the needy for free.
They blamed police officers manning border points for extorting bribes and confiscating goods.
The border with Somalia was closed in 2009 following rampant sneaking in of contraband. Security chiefs have said the closure will remain until the completion of the construction of a security wall expected to streamline business operations.