Court of Appeal suspends release of 25,5880 tonnes of imported impure and impounded sugar

by Mahakamani News
Hon Justice Weldon Korir of the High Court

The court of appeal has suspended the release of 25, 580 metric tonnes of Brazilian sugar into the Kenya’s sugar market.

According to the court of appeal, the impounded sugar contained yeast and mold which made it unbefitting for human consumption.

By suspending an execution of the high court judgment that ordered for the release of the sugar in July this year, appellate judges, Justice William Ouko, Erastus Githinji and Hannah Okwengu said that the court bore in mind the public good and interest noting that the risk the impounded sugar bore to the public health was something unfathomable.

The judges further ordered that the sugar was to be impounded for reasons that an appeal lodged by Kebs was yet to be heard and determined and disregarding the appeal would only serve as an academic discourse. 

The intricacies of the appeal are that Landmark Freight Services Limited had imported the impure sugar in 18 entries of 511,600 bags of 50kgs from a Dubai-based company during May 11 to August 31, 2017 when the government had waived quotas on the quantity of sugar imports.

In the suit papers, the company claimed that it had remitted taxes to the KRA for the all the 18 import entries.

However, a raid carried out on counterfeit sugar exposed the company to seizure notices from a multi-agency team on grounds that the sugar consignment not only had incorrect custom declaration but also incorrect labels of names and addresses of the company.

Aggrieved by the decision the company moved to court seek a declaration on the legality of the seizure and to also quash a Kebs laboratory test report dated June 29, 2018.

Kebs affirmed the legality of the seizure on grounds that the company’s certificates of conformity had already expired by October, 2017 adding that samples collected from the bags also failed the meet the set safety standards for brown sugar.

A High court judge, Hon Weldon Koris, who was unable to determine if the sugar was good for human consumption had directed Kebs main witness, Clarkson Nyambok to provide the court with full test results of the sugar within three days after the date that high court had delivered its judgement.

In the judgment the judge had erred by declaring that the sugar ought to be released to the company because it was safe for human consumption.

Discontented by the ruling, Kebs then filed an appeal at the appellate court. In the application they sought orders suspending the High Court decision, pending hearing and determination of its appeal suit.

Kebs argued that the judge had erred in declaring that the sugar was fit for consumption albeit laboratory tests confirmed otherwise.

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