By William Madouk
South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) has impounded at least 17 commercial trucks loaded with suspected substandard food.
SSNBS’s chairperson Dr. Kuorwel Kuai Kuorwel told journalists yesterday that the goods that are now parked at Midan Zahara were intercepted in Nesitu and Nimule.
“SSNBS impounded seventeen (17) trucks loaded with assorted goods (biscuits, beer, cooking oil, Tahania, honey, dates, coconut milk, etc.) at Nimule and Nesitu, which were imported by four Juba-based suppliers,” he said.
“This occurred during routine procedures that ensure that all goods entering the country are inspected at the border points before being transported into the country,” Kuorwel continued.
He added that goods imported from Brazil, India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Vietnam were smuggled into the country without a proper certificate of conformity (CoC) from the source.
“As such, an investigation by the SSNBS inspectors revealed that, out of seventeen (17) trucks, five (5) trucks loaded with sugar were smuggled through the Nimule border to Juba without inspections or laboratory analysis,” he disclosed.
“It was later found that these trucks were issued a fake certificate of conformity in order to avoid inspection,” the SSNBS’s boss added.
He cited that one truck fully loaded with biscuits did not go through inspection processes and was smuggled to Juba, while the other 11 consignments loaded with goods and were issued a COC without a safety and quality standards check.
“SSNBS inspectors shall conduct inspections and collect samples for laboratory testing,” Kuorwel underscored.
“In the process, products that are not accompanied by a mandatory COC shall pay a penalty fee that is equivalent to 20% of the costs, insurance, and freight (CIF) values of the goods assessed,” he explained.
Besides, Dr. Kuorwel ruled that the impounded goods would remain at the store until testing is done to confirm whether the goods are fit for human consumption or not.
“We therefore want to warn commercial suppliers that illegal importation of goods into the country does not only violate product safety compliance but constitutes an illicit trade that is punishable by law,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the national minister of trade and industry, William Anyuon Kuol, commended the SSNBS staff.
Mr. Kuol assured the citizens that the South Sudan Bureau of Standards team is capable and up to task to ensure that no substandard goods sneak into the country.
Days ago, Dr. Kuorwel warned that the clearing agencies at the Nimule border were issuing fake documents that allowed cargos’ entrance into the country.
He made this remark after meeting with members of the clearing agents in Nimule town to iron out mishaps, understand their challenges, and build cooperation gaps between the two institutions.
“We concluded that although the clearing agents are a very important part of the private sector and also in facilitating trade in South Sudan, we want them to desist from allowing substandard goods to enter the country,” said Kuorwel.
He alleged that some clearing agents faked certificates of conformity (CoCs) and stamps on other government institutions to clear cargo at the border.
“By doing that, they should stop; they should inform their members that forging the Certificate of Conformity, (COC), is a legal matter and it attracts jail term if we find someone doing that,” he warned.