Alarm raised as 15 containers of condemned rice disappear from Mombasa port

By: DANIEL TSUMA NYASSY

Condemned rice could be finding its way into local food stores, a Mombasa businessman has warned.

Mr Ansar Hussein, a rice importer, alleged that there is a cartel that claims goods which have overstayed at the port of Mombasa.

Mr Hussein, who owns a chain of companies, said he was shocked to find that more than 15 containers of rice he had imported and then was condemned, had disappeared.

He said while he was waiting for a waiver on the cargo, there was delay in clearing it, and, as a result, the consignment was condemned.

“But I was shocked to learn that some people belonging to a cartel had gone to the port to claim the consignment,” he told journalists on Sunday.

The businessman said he had lodged a complaint with the relevant authorities but had not received any reply.

Mr Hussein, who is the Royal Africa General and Trading Ltd managing director, said that the value of his consignment before being cleared was Sh15 million.

RECYCLE BAD RICE

“The motive behind the cartel is not to destroy the rice but to recycle the consignment back into the market,” he said.

He claimed that the cartel, whose members he did not disclose, comprises of well-connected and powerful individuals within government and in private business.

The businessman threatened to move to court to block the “removal” of his consignment by members of the cartel without his consent.

He said his company had already cleared shipping agents’ charges and they were only awaiting the waiver of charges from the Kenya Ports Authority.

“We have tried to sort out the matter with KPA for the past few months unsuccessfully”, he said and refuted claims that his consignment was contaminated.

He said he had managed to get a waiver from the shipping agent but not from KPA adding that he had notified the anti-corruption commission about the issue.

“I have notified the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over the scam that is going on at the port of Mombasa,” he said adding that he had sought a waiver because the tax charges on his cargo were more than the value of the consignment.