Police in Busia County through a multi-agency approach have intercepted 22,000 sugar bags valued at Sh.2 million.
Speaking to the press at Busia Police Station on Thursday, Busia County Commissioner (CC), Jacob Narengo said the illegal bags were intercepted last evening while being transported from Uganda.
Narengo explained that the bags were concealed in cartons like milk despite the ban of the illegal plastics by the government in 2017.
“As a County bordering our neighbours Uganda, I want to state that this particular exercise will be a daily activity in all the Sub Counties,” he said.
He urged all the Deputy County Commissioners to carry out daily crackdown on plastic bags across all the trading centres within their jurisdiction.
“This order takes effect immediately,” he said, adding that those found engaging in the illegal trade would face the law.
The Director General of NEMA, Geoffrey Wakhungu thanked the CC and his team for the operation, adding that there was need for all government agencies to apply a multi-agency approach in the fight against contraband goods.
‘On August 28, 2017 we implemented the ban on plastic and this ban has largely been successful for large carrier bags but it is now being undermined by cross-border smuggling especially from Uganda,” he said.
Wakhungu added that the government has kicked off an operation that would control the illegal trade.
“If you go to the market, you will find those who are selling sweet potatoes, tomatoes,” he said, adding that it was very difficult to run around chasing hawkers.
He disclosed that efforts to talk to the NEMA Uganda counterparts have hit a snag because they do not have their own regulations.
“Kenyans have supported us and we just want to ensure that these plastics do not come through,” he said.
The official urged the local residents to volunteer information to police and other government agencies on those smuggling plastic bags.
“It is very surprising that all other areas have complied with the ban except the border towns of Busia, Vanga, Namanga and Malaba,” he said.
Wakhungu further stated that there was a shortage of NEMA staff appealing to all residents to cooperate in the fight against contraband.
The Busia County Police Commander, John Nyoike said that no arrest has been made in connection with the incident, adding that the driver of the vehicle sped away.
“That is why we had to tow the vehicle to the station and when we opened it, we realized that there were some illegal goods apart from milk and eggs they were transporting,” he said.
He also appealed to the local residents to assist police officers in intercepting illegal goods getting into the country