Importer loses compensation offer for seized 600 million shillings sugar

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Economy

Importer loses compensation offer for seized 600 million shillings sugar


Sugar imports. PHOTO FILE | NMG

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Summary

  • Landmark Freight Services Ltd wanted the court to force Kebs to pay damages for confiscating 400,000 bags of the product imported from Brazil in 2018.
  • Kebs reported that the shipment had a high yeast content and requested its destruction, but Landmark argued that the seizure was made without explanation and was therefore illegal.

An offer by a sugar importer to be compensated by the government for 609 million shillings for its brown sugar seized three years ago by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) was rejected by the High Court.

Landmark Freight Services Ltd wanted the court to force Kebs to pay damages for confiscating 400,000 bags of the product imported from Brazil in 2018.

Kebs reported that the shipment had a high yeast content and requested its destruction, but Landmark argued that the seizure was made without explanation and was therefore illegal.

The government agency asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing the cabinet lost a similar claim two years ago but skillfully brought the same case back instead of appealing the July 2019 ruling.

“It is therefore my conclusion that the claims in this action were an integral part of Petition 290 of 2018 which was determined on the merits. The plaintiff, if he was not satisfied, should have appealed and not filed a new complaint for the same loss compensation claim, ”High Court Judge Hedwig Ong’udi said.

The earlier claim for damages was dismissed because the company failed to demonstrate how Kebs violated its rights to the forfeiture.

The sugar was imported during the exemption period granted by the Treasury and the company claimed that Kebs had inspected the shipment at the point of loading by SGC Gulf Limited, its appointed agent, and issued clearance certificates.

He claimed that Kebs performed a random microbiology test at the port of Mombasa, which removed the sugar.

The High Court then delivered its decision, but Judge Weldon Korir said he was unable to determine whether the sugar was good or bad for human consumption and requested an expert witness to report.

After assessing the witness’s evidence, the judge concluded that the sugar was safe for consumption and ordered that the notices of seizure be lifted and the sugar released.

The agency did not release the sugar arguing it was expired, forcing it and the company then asked for compensation.

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