Anti-graft detectives have launched investigations on three customs officials who have been suspended over the sale of Sh40 million condemned ethanol.
Mombasa Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) boss George Ojowi on Friday said the three will be summoned to their offices over claims that they aided the sale of eight containers of ethanol outside the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) auction process.
“As of now we are doing the verification of the product and to get samples for the government chemist for further analysis,” said Mr Ojowi.
The 160,000 litres of condemned ethanol, stored in eight containers, is kept in a freight station in Kibarani, Mombasa County.
EACC said the consignment which was meant for destruction was seized on transit to Nairobi after the customs officials had allegedly sold it to a city-based company.
“We are going to arrest all those who were involved. We have all the documentation with us,” said Mr Ojowi.
On Thursday, KRA said the goods had been gazetted for auction on August 9 2016.
But verification showed that the containers had been imported and concealed as diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, primarily used as a solvent in coatings, inks, cleaners and specialty fluids, or to produce diethylene glycol butyl acetate.
“Upon verification, they were not auctioned on the basis that they did not match the description. KRA lab experts identified the substance as ethanol set it aside for destruction,” said KRA’s commissioner for intelligence and strategic operation Mr Giithi Mburu in a statement.
He said in March 2018, the containers were irregularly re-gazetted under notice number 2535, for auction the following month and the consignment was not sold on the floor of the auction, but outside the normal auction process.
“Necessary action will be taken on any other KRA staff found culpable during the ongoing investigations on the irregular sale of the ethanol. KRA has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption,” he said.
On Tuesday, detectives from the EACC seized the eight containers and revealed that KRA auctioned the consignment meant for destruction.
The anti-graft agency detectives said that four containers were about to be released to the market but managed to stop.
The containers were auctioned at Sh600,000 each from the custom house, according to the anti-corruption agency.