KENYA – An operation led by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the Kenya Dairy Board and the Kenya Revenue Authority has recovered 16 tonnes of illegally imported powdered milk in the Eastleigh area, Nairobi.
The multi-operation team who broke into the godown where the product was being repackaged claimed the product originated from Uganda, however, it is not clear when it arrived in the country.
They added that workers were found rebranding the powdered milk in locally configured packets and were arrested and detained and grilled on the spot.
“It is also possible that they rebranded the milk to set up some brands and the information labelled on the rebranded packages was also said to be misleading,” said an official.
The officials also added that the milk also lacked certification from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) and an officer from the Kenya Dairy Board commenced an investigation to determine whether the milk was fit for human consumption or if the product posed a health risk.
Earlier this year, Kenya announced a ban on the importation of milk powder into the country claiming to allow for the Dairy Industry Import and Export Regulations 2021 to apply accordingly.
The Kenya Dairy Board announced the indefinite suspension of milk powder imports in a move seen as protecting processors and farmers from lower prices since the milk powder imports could lead to a glut in the market.
Although Kenya argued the aim was to protect the local dairy industry, others thought it was aimed at punishing some players and has led to job losses to residents in the affected countries.
Following the ban, the government impounded 1,511 bags of expired milk powder valued at over Ksh.75 million at a godown in Nairobi’s Eastlands area.
A statement from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) confirmed that the milk powder had been flagged at the Port of Mombasa and was due for disposal since it had been declared unfit for consumption.
The statement also indicated that the illegal shipment in which the government lost over Ksh.32 Million in unpaid taxes was immediately declared unfit for human consumption by officials from KEBS.
DCI added that after raiding the premise they found 25 kg bags with labels detailing their expiry dates removed and were ready for repackaging.
Restriction laid on milk imports from Uganda has caused challenges in both the Kenyan and the Ugandan dairy sector.
Recently, Brookside Limited, Uganda’s leading dairy processor, laid off half of its staff following restrictions on export opportunities to Kenya.
The processor said that the failure of the Kenyan government to grant export permits for its products had denied it more than 75% of its market.