The Kenyan government on Friday said it will re-open some border points with Somalia in three northeastern counties to help restrict entry of contraband goods, especially sugar, into the country.
Northeastern Regional Commissioner, Mohamud Saleh, said illicit sugar, foodstuffs and even weapons are finding ways into the country.
“We shall open between one and two border points in the three counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa,” Saleh told a public forum in Mandera town.
He said the border points will be manned by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) and other relevant government agencies to ensure the goods and services entering the country are inspected and taxed while concealed weapons stopped.
“The government will earn revenue and ensure that all goods entering the country meet our standards,” the official said.
Saleh warned rogue police officers and other government officials who are colluding with unscrupulous businessmen in smuggling.
Smuggling of sugar has been rampant along the Kenya-Somalia border since 1990s. It has created an “untouchable” community of millionaires, mainly Kenyan Somali traders, who are protected by a ragtag army in their trade deals.
Kenya produces 500,000 metric tonnes of sugar annually, while the consumption is about 800,000 metric tonnes, leaving a shortfall of 300,000 metric tonnes. The shortfall is supposed to be imported from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region.
The illicit sugar business is also believed to be a key income for the militant group Al-Shabaab. Enditem