According to the sources, it has been reported that the new Coast regional co-ordinator of national government Mr Nelson Marwa yesterday stormed a godown and ordered the arrest of two managers following reports that contraband imported rice and peas were being repackaged for the local market. Mr Marwa, who is the outgoing Mombasa county commissioner, led a contingent of armed administration police officers from the county headquarters in the sting operation at the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Miritini in Changamwe.
Further, it was told that he took the action after receiving a tip off from a member of the public. According to Mr Marwa that he suspected some of the foodstuff being repackaged which had been expired. The outspoken official said he avoided informing Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Public Health Department and police officers in Changamwe in advance about the raid because he suspected some of them could be colluding with cartels in the Container Freight Stations (CFSs) to aid evasion of taxes.
While, addressing journalists after making the arrest, it was narrated that however, he will liase with these officials to assess the quality of the rice and peas. It is suspected that this rice has been expired or it is contaminated but it is being repackaged in sacks for sale in the local market. Further, it will be interrogated from the two gentlemen accompanying us and ascertain whether the foodstuff is fit for human consumption and whether the operation of this godown is legal and revenues due to government were secured. In addition, noting that many CFSs in Mombasa were a conduit for Government revenue leakages.
Further, in this regard, it was also revealed that the bags containing rice, which were being ferried from the port to the godown indicated that it was produced in Thailand. However some sacks with repackaged rice indicated that the product was from Pakistan. Operations in the godown stopped immediately after when the managers were arrested. According to Marwa, low quality rice in sixth, fifth, third or second grades were being packaged as grade 1. The raid follows recent impoundment of consignments of sugar from a number of CFSs by KRA in Mombasa.