Officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) arrested an alleged mastermind behind the theft of condemned brown sugar on Saturday night, May 20 at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
A police report on Sunday, May 21 revealed that the officers in collaboration with customs officers nabbed the suspect, Crispus Waithaka, who had arrived in the country from Dubai.
Immigration officers had pounced on Waithaka based on a departure prohibition that had been issued against him as well as other Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) officials.
He was pulled aside and the DCI officers acted promptly by searching and identifying the suspect before arresting him.
During his arrest, Waithaka was found in possession of an interim order for anticipatory bail of Ksh100,000 issued by the Mombasa High Court in a Criminal Miscellaneous Application dated May 19, 2023.
The DCI officers had escorted him to Kamukunji Police Station where he was detained pending arraignment in court on Monday, May 22.
The Mombasa-based businessman was accused of being a witness to the opening and breaching of the 40 containers with the contaminated sugar that was released into the market.
President William Ruto’s Chief of Staff, Felix Koskei, on Wednesday, May 17 revealed that the Head of State was briefed on the grievous accusations of the irregular and criminal release of condemned sugar scheduled for conversion into industrial ethanol.
The sugar consignment comprising 20,000 bags (each 50kgs), had been imported into the country in the year 2018 and condemned by KEBS for want of expiry date specification.
KEBS condemned the consignment as unfit for human consumption and directed that the consignment be reshipped and destroyed at the owner’s cost. KEBS National Standards Council approved destruction through conversion of the consignment for industrial ethanol use.
The industrial ethanol conversion was to be implemented under the joint supervision of KEBS and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), within a multi-agency framework.
“The condition precedent to the conversion were; involvement of all the concerned regulatory agencies; sourcing a distiller through an open and competitive tendering process; and securing the payment of applicable taxes and statutory fees.
“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,” Koskei noted.
President Ruto as a result of the irregularities suspended KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini alongside 26 other government officials including eight from the Revenue Authority (KRA), four police officers and six others from the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).