The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is a very important body in as far as public safety is concerned. It was established by act of parliament in1974 with the main aim of ensuring all industrial products meet international standards in terms of quality, measurement, accuracy and circulation of information.
It is unfortunate that thousands of metric tonnes of poisonous sugar can flood the Kenyan market with the connivance of officers charged with the responsibility of protecting the public from the same.
Some of the sugar is being kept in the unsafest of stores going by the list Duale gave parliament this week. It is a shame that a textile store can be turned into a sugar warehouse. They say some thousands of bags are still kept at a paper factory warehouse. Kenyans have become objects of profiteering and nobody cares anymore about safety as long as profits are being made.
Government ministers have made matters worse by feuding in public about the quality of the sugar. Mps too, have also not been left behind and there were scenes of them shouting each other down in parliament in vain attempts at drowning the truth.
Some bags are clearly labeled, Not Fit For Human Consumption, yet still, you see these profiteers repackaging them for eventual sale to Kenyans who have put their faith in statutory bodies like Kebs for protection.
The interior minister states with authority that there are substantial amounts of mercury and copper in the sugar. The interior minister is privy to very previleged information and the public has no otherwise but to trust him.
This package of sugar failed almost all tests yet some public officials still have the audacity to claim all is hot air driven by business rivalry.
Government lab tests show the sugar had high copper content per kilogram, as high as 20.7mg/kg against the recommended 2mg/kg. It also did not meet the polarization standards, meaning it had low sucrose content and high levels of insoluble matter
Kebs tests themselves show that the sugar is not fit for human consumption yet they don the all important Kebs stickers.
The arrests of Ogwae and Nyakiamo opens a new chapter in as far as accountability to public office is concerned. It is a clear signal to those charged with the duty of protecting the public that they will take personal responsibility.
Most exposed now are officers manning entry points and we can now have no doubt that lessons have been learnt from the arrests of the kebs senior officials