Police in Migori have seized maize illegally imported from Tanzania.
Through a multi-agency operation led by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Agricultural Food Authority raided several stores in Kuria West and impounded the illegal maize.
Speaking after the raid, the Migori County Police Commissioner Boaz Cheruiyot noted that the multi agencies (Border Management Committee) are mandated to curb illegal business along the Kenya-Tanzania border.
Boaz indicated that the residents of Nyametaburo Market in Kuria have been importing maize without the approval of the Kenyan government. He affirmed that the government has decided to take serious actions to curb the vice.
‘‘After consultations with the Boarder Management Committee we have decided to identify the owners of the consignments and stores to collect crucial information to nab the culprits’’, stated Boaz.
The County Commissioner stressed that once the owners of those consignments have been identified KEBS and Agricultural Food Authority will conduct tests and establish if the maize was fit for human consumption.
He underlined that KEBS will establish the grading and moisture content and also ascertain if these maize were contaminated with aflatoxin.
The commissioner also noted that although Nyametaburo market was located along the Kenya-Tanzania border the government wanted to establish where the maize came from.
He acknowledged that the government had banned all importation of maize and wanted to establish whether the maize was locally brought there or imported from Tanzania.
Mr. Boaz acknowledged that the government will take legal actions to those who will be found to have imported the maize.
He highlighted that KRA Section 200 of the East Africa Community Management Act talks about exportation and importation of prohibited goods within the East African Community.
He assured the media that various agencies will do proper investigations to bring the culprits to book.
The Commissioner noted that the Crop Acts of 2013 Section 16 is very clear on the importation and licensing of food items especially on the issue of crop regulation that talks about the storage of cereals and their qualities.
He therefore said that they will not allow any illegally imported maize to be brought to the county. He caution business personnel who were engaging in this illicit business to be aware that its banned and urged them to look for legal business to do.
Boaz asserted that the police and KRA officials will be moving from store to store to ascertain the stored maize and urged the business personnel to corporate to avoid further consequences.
The government has a task to make sure that the lives of Kenyans who consume these products are protected.
The more than 100 stores with the illegally imported maize in Nyametaburo village crossing were sealed by Kenya Revenue officers manning the Isebania Kenya border until the seized maize in sacks is inspected and also its origin is well established.
KEBS will move in to do the testing and inspection to prove if the stored maize is good for human consumption before the owners are allowed to transport and sell it to the consumers in the country.
The multi agencies said that they will ensure the maize haulage is well preserved and consumers protected from any contaminated food with aflatoxins from the foreign countries.