By Andrew Irumba
Eng. Dr Ben Manyindo, the Executive Director of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), is in hot soup for allegedly allowing Kakira Sugar Limited to reprocess 58,000 bags of sugar which had been impounded by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
Manyindo on Tuesday appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), to explain how he could allow expired sugar to be reprocessed and sold to Ugandans for consumption.
Trouble for Manyindo started in 2014 when URA impounded 58,000 bags of Sugar that had been imported by Kakira Sugar Works Limited from India.
Later in 2015, after the sugar expiring, URA and UNBS allowed Kakira Sugar Limited to reprocess the sugar and sale it on the Ugandan market, something that has since left Members of Parliament wondering how UNBS, under Manyindo’s management, could allow that to happen.
However, while appearing before COSASE, Manyindo explained that sugar is one of those few manufactured products which can be reprocessed and sold, without causing any harm to consumers.
But COSASE chairman Mubarak Munyagwa trashed Manyindo’s explanations and demanded to know what the essence of expiry dates on manufactured products is.
Manyindo, who failed to answer Munyagwa’s question, instead explained that at the time of the impasse, URA and UNBS were working jointly to enforce quality assurance and that the URA was mandated to fully handle the Kakira Sugar case.
When he failed to ably explain his role in the matter, COSASE chairman requested the. Criminal Investigations Directorate to probe Manyindo, such that he can clearly reveal why UNBS allowed expired sugar to be sold to innocent Ugandans who have since consumed it, despite the health risks involved in consuming expired products.
Manyindo assumed the UNBS top office on 24th October 2012. He joined UNBS in 1998 rising to the level of Deputy Executive Director (Technical); having previously worked at Makerere University and Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo.
He is a first class graduate of Makerere University Faculty of Technology and a PhD holder from the University of New South Wales, Australia.
He is a registered Mechanical/Industrial Engineer with over 27 years working experience in teaching, research, consultancy and standards of which 14 years has been spent in the area of standardisation at national, regional and international levels.
At international level he served on the Executive Committee of FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission and for three years was elected to the post of Vice Chairperson.