Why contraband goods from Somalia worth sh5m must be burned

Contraband goods worth ksh 5 million sneaked into Mandera Town from Somalia by allegedly unscrupulous people have been destroyed by the security agents.

According to the Mandera County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka, the goods were destroyed by a multi- government agency  following a court order.

In the ruling, the court indicated that the goods did not meet the laid health standards by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and therefore should be destroyed.

The Commissioner who spoke at Qarbakole dumping site where the assorted goods were burnt said the government cannot compromise the health of its people by allowing non- inspected goods to be sold to its citizens.

The closure of the Kenya-Somalia border in Mandera at the height of insecurity six years ago could be costing the country at least Ksh 2 billion ($20 million) annually, as smugglers have a field day sneaking substandard goods in and out the country.

The Kenya Revenue Authority, immigration and Kenya Bureau of Standards offices at the border post are deserted, with the walls dotted with bullet holes.

This has allowed smuggling to thrive, with local traders saying the goods from Mogadishu and Kismayu ports are relatively cheaper since they are not taxed and their quality is not tested.

The porous border is 360 kilometres long, and efforts by the Kenya government to stop movements between the two countries have not borne fruit. A border wall meant to curb insecurity is still under construction.

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