A report has implicated the Kenya Defence Forces in the illicit sugar trade in Somalia.
The report by Journalists for Justice (JFJ), which conducted the study on the conduct of KDF, named the Kenya military, the Jubaland administration of Ahmed Madobe and Al-Shabaab as beneficiaries of shares in a trade worth between $200 million (Ksh20.4 billion) and $400 million (Ksh40.8 billion).
“The connection between Al-Shabaab and sugar smuggling came to the fore in Kenya during the group’s current mandate - this implied KDF involvement by describing how sugar enters Kenya via Kismayu,” the report said.
Previously, charcoal was considered as the leading source of revenue for Al-Shabaab but that has since declined owing to the thriving and more lucrative taxation of illicit sugar.
According to JFJ, loaders, traders and intelligence officials said an estimated 150,000 tonnes of illicit sugar is transported to Kenya via Kismayu each year, which translates to around 3000 tonnes a week.
The numbers, JFJ says, were corroborated by journalists, traders in Dadaab and Dhobley and drivers at both locations. They alleged that hundreds of trucks cross the border at Liboi and Amuma and arrive in the Dadaab camps each month.
The trade areas are Kismayu, Dhobley, Liboi, Amuma, Dadaab and Garissa. KDF and Jubaland forces control the Kismayu port.
The JFJ report reveals that KDF and Jubaland officials levy a tax of $2 (Ksh204) per bag of imported sugar, an income of around $250,000 (Ksh25.5 million) a week, or $13 million (Ksh1.3 billion) a year.
Read the full JFJ report here.