The Battle of who should managed Mumias Sugar Company pitying the Rai brothers Jaswant Singh Rai of Rai Group and Sarbjit Rai of Sarrai Group has taken an ugly twist with the former resorting to financing a smear campaign against the latter.
It must be known that Jaswant has four Sugar Factories in Kenya namely West Kenya Sugar situated in Malava in Kakamega County, Sukari Industries of Ndhiwa in Homabay County, Olepito Sugar situated at Tangakona area in Busia County and the latest entrant Naitiri Sugar in Bungoma County.
With all these sugar factories the man still wants to add Mumias Sugar Company to himself. His bid to take over Mumias, was rejected by Ponangipalli Rao who was the Company’s Reciever manager.
Rao said that if the bid was awarded to West Kenya, it would amount to a dominant position as the Rai Group which owns West Kenya, controls atleast 41% of the daily total Sugarcane crushing capacity in the Country.
On the other hand Sarbi owns Kinyara Sugar and Hoima Sugar both in Uganda all under Sarrai Group and with each having a success story to share. It is from this background that the Reciever manager developed confidence in Sarrai and saw his capability to run Mumias Sugar Company hence awarding him a 20 year lease.
We should not also forget that the defunct Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) basing on the same reasons in 2011, rejected West Kenya’s application to set up a factory in Busia on grounds that it had a functional Sugar Mill in Malava in Kakamega County and at the same time holding an operating license for Bilibili site in Bungoma County.
What Kenyans should also know is the fact that KCB, The Treasury and the Ministry of agriculture had earlier invited Sarrai to come to Kenya to revive Mumias having seen his capacity after visiting the two sugar factories he owned in Uganda. He was initially not interested as he had anticipated these wars but later accepted after several considerations.
For Jaswant had wanted to have the Mumias Sugar neuclears where his plans were to transport Sugarcane to his companies and hence KCB believed they couldn’t recover their money with Jaswant being in control of Mumias.
It is in the same manner that Jaswant acquired a ones vibrant Panpaper Mills in Webuye at a throw away price of Ksh900 Million after duping the people of Western and Bungoma to be precise that he was going to revive it only to turn it into a Godown to stock cheap illegal sugar. He now brings paper from his Mufindi Paper Mills in Tanzania.
So for the Kenyan Media which should act as the farmers’ watchdog to allow itself to be used by Jaswant to drive a false narative about Sarrai so that he can take over Mumias Sugar Company is saddening and they should refer to the above reasons why he is not allowed to add another Sugar Factory to himself.
This is a man with a big appetite for the sugar Industry in Kenya where he wants by all means to dominate it and have the monopoly hence what Kenyans especially the Sugar farmers should know is that he will no longer be interested in sugarcane development immediately he succeeds to take over Mumias Sugar Company.
It is in black and white that his main agenda is to fully embark on Sugar importation as it is in the public domain that he has been in the center of illegal sugar importation in the Country.
You will all remember what happened to him in 2018 where his Raiply Paper Mills formerly Panpaper in Webuye was raided by the DCI where llegal Sugar worth Ksh250 Million was nabbed.
After cases of sugar suspected to be having laced with Mercury were reported in the Country, the sugar that was seized at the Raiply Mills was also taken for tests in the same year where same results were declared.
He was cleared by the Senate Committee which was led by former Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala who is now the UDA Secretary General. He told the Country that after licking the sugar he found it fit for consumption.
Jaswant has now started a smear campaign against his brother Sarbjit Rai of Sarrai Group who won the tender to operated Mumias Sugar Company for the next 20 years. He has bought Newspaper Editors and bloggers to run fake stories about MSC and his brother with an aim of destabilising the giant Miller and tainting his brother as one who is not capable of running MSC.
A good example is a full page story that appeared in the Business Daily on 31st May 2023 with the header, ‘Loaders Pile More Woes On Sarrai In Battle For Mumias’. And to show clearly that this was a sponsored story to push Sarrai out of Mumias the Media House went ahead to add a subheading saying, “Workers Want The President To Fullfill His Pledge To Replace Firm With New Reviever Manager’.
The issue here is not about the incapability to run MSC but the President replacing the Sarrai with a new Receiver Manager. Many would ask who is this new Reviever manager that is supposed to replace Sarrai incase President William Ruto fullfils his promise as stated by the said Loaders.
What Kenyans and Sugarcane Farmers in particular should know is that there is enough evidence to show that Jaswant is now financing the campaign against Sarrai with the aim of seeing him out of Mumias so that he can take over and monopolise the sector.
What Jaswant vowed since 2011 when he first set up a Weighbridge within Mumias Sugar Zone at Tangakona in Busia County was to make sure that the ones giant sugar Miller which used to command East and Central Africa is dead so that he can take over as the leader in the market.
It is common knowledge that Jaswant is not ready to allow Mumias Sugar to roar back to life under a diffrent person if not himself for obvious reasons. He knows very well that if left undisturbed, MSC would roar back and it would push him out of business so he would rather push it into the grave for good rather than seeing it operating under a diffrent person something that Kenyans should know that it is not all about his brother Sarrai.
The people of Western Region whose economic backbone has always been Sugarcane farming should therefore keenly follow this happenings to see whether the Government of Kenya shall succumb to Jaswant’s financed anti-Sarrai campaigns and pressure.