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LUO MINISTERS AND MPS HAVE COME UNDER HEAVY CRITICISM FOR KEEPING QUIET OVER SCAM TO GRAB 10,000 ACRES MIWANI SUGAR COMPANY NUCLEAR ESTATE FARM

Posted by African Press International on January 22, 2009

Investigative report by a special correspondent, Kenya

When Kenya is grappling with myriad of corruption related scandals involving billions of tax payers money, a mega scam is going on quietly whose magnitude is almost equivalent to other financial scandals like Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing and now Triton Oil and maize disappearance scams.

Many leaders in the grand coalition of Government under the power sharing system between the two principals namely President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have come out fire-spitting over the latest report scandals surrounding the secret sale of maize and millions lost in the oil scam.

So far nobody has come out boldly and raised the issue touching on the grand scheme to grab the 10,000 acres nucleus estate farm land owned by Miwani Sugar Company, which is located in Nyando District, which a cartel of wealthy Asian wheeler-dealers have been trying all the tricks in the books to grab under dubious circumstances.

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It si so sad and absurd that even the usually outspoken Luo MPs who have been jumping on the bandwagon and angrily issuing harsh comments on every slightest rumor and scandal mentioned in this country have gone strangely gone silent over the Miwani land saga .

Most of the legislators from Luo-Nyanza are said to have been pocketed and silenced after their pockets allegedly lined by the wealthy Asians involved in a deliberate attempt to grab the Miwanis virgin and fertile sugar growing land through the back-door.

It is being alleged that massive bribery has been the order of the day involving millions of shillings in kick-backs paid to individuals, court officials, local administrators and near all the government agencies in order to facilitate the take over of the 10,000 acres nucleus estate farm.

Miwani Suigar Company, the oldest white sugar processing firm went burst about ten years ago under what the then Minister for Agriculture Chris M. Obure described as the protective official receivership to enable its joint receiver managers write its books of accounts fresh and access it indebtedness, creditors and pay workers.

The official receivership, according to the Ministry was to last only 120 days. But it has lasted for close to eleven years. The factory has remained closed during all that durations of times as the seemingly endless legal tussles ensued in both Kisumu and Nairobi law courts….

Also placed under the joint official receiver managers of Eng. Martin Owiti and J. Kipngetich was the neighboring Muhoni Sugar Mills. It is official receivership was to last only for 90 days, but it has lasted or close to eleven years. Muhoroni, however, is fully functioning, operational and vibrant.

Prior to this Muhoroni Sugar Company was owned jointly between the Government of Kenya who had 45% of shares while an offshore company called Venessa, which is owned by the controversial Kenyan business magnate Mr. Ketan Sumaia.had the majority shares of 61 per cent.

But after the quiet and silent negotiations which went on behind the scene between the government and Mr. Somaias company the other partner pulled out after reaching the consensus agreement leaving the Government of Kenya as the sole owner of Miwani Sugar Company.Sugar Company.

While all these went on silently Miwani Sugar Company was being run at the time by a hired management firm owned by local Kisumu based businessmen and Kibos sugar cane farmers on behalf of both Mr Somaia and the Government of Kenya. This Company is called Chanan Agricultural Contractors {CAC}, which allegedly milked it to the ground on leaving it in dust and on its knees.

.The Directors[CAC} coincidentally are the same directors of the recently established Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries Ltd in which the CAK had the majority shares.

And after Mr. Somaia had voluntarily pulled out of the Company the Government under the auspices of Kenya Sugar Board decided to offload its shares in the two public investment. It then advertised both Miwani Sugar Company and Muhoroni Sugar Mills for sale and called for bidders.

The tender was opened in a competitive and transparent and manner which attracted local and foreign investors. And a locally registered firm which is said to be collaborating with Kenana Sugar Works of Sudan emerged the highest bidder and won the tender for a colossal amount of money to the tune of Ksh. 3.7 billion. The company made a down payment the required amount in percentage in accordance to the tender agreement.

But what has become the most puzzling event which looked like a Holyhood movie the other firm, which came out the second in the tender secretly hatched a plan to frustrate the winner of the tender. One of its directors moved to court and instituted a highly touted legal civil case. This time around its director went court under the assumed names of Nagender Saxena.

It filed a case under utmost urgency claiming that Nagendra Saxena, had filed the same legal suit in 1993, and all the document were backdated, though they lacked proper records in the court files nor was there any documentary evidence showing the plaintiff had actually filed the case way back in 1993.

A plant was hurriedly filed against Miwani Sugar Mills and Miwani Sugar Company (1985) claimed it had been filed way back in 1993. it was filed before Resident Principal Magistrate at Kisiimu law court n 27-05-2007 but the document showed it was back dated to read 1993.

On 29-06-2007 the plaintiff advocate requested for the extension of time to allow the issuance of court summons on29-o6-2007 the plaintiff advocate requested for the judgment in default of respondent advocate, which was duly granted and the plaintiffs advocated presented the taxation bills on the same day.

On 08-07-2007 a decree was issued giving the plaintiff judicial power to auction the 10,000 acres nucleus estate which belonged to the Miwani Sugar Company. And on

July 12-07-2007 a decree was issued.

But on July 4 2007 the joint receiver managers of Miwani and Muhoroni Sugar Companies together with the Kenya Sugar Board who until then were never served with any court summonses requiring their personal appearance also moved to court and instituted a suit challenging the decision of the lower court.

A company which had moved to the court and obtained judgment to sale the 10,000 acres nuclear estate of Miwani Sugar Company had actually allegedly sold the farm to another farm called Crossly Holding Limited in an open air public auction, which later turned out to be a stage managed auction.

But it later emerged that the directors of a firm which claims to have bought the 10,00- acres nucleus estate farm as the highest bidder had paid Kshs 750,000,000 to the decree holder Nagendra Saxena.

The truth also emewrged that a director of Crossly Holding Limited, a company whose physical address was ealier given to be in Nairobi was nobody, but a Mr.Sukhwner Singh Chatihe who is also a director of the Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries

The legal tussle has been on in courts both at Kisumu and at Milimani Commercial courts in Nairobi..

Crossly Holdings claims that it had deposited the payment of Kshs 750,000,000 and that the money had come from an offshore firm, but they claimant could not immediately produce the official stamp duty confirming the transaction of this magnitude had actually taken place.

The receiver mnanagers had alsdo moved to court disputing the claims that they were issued with court summonses. But when a court process server confirmed that he had not actually served the receiver managers with the summonses, he was later kidnapped at a gun-point by unknown persons who took him to a Milamani estate house, suspected to belonged to the directors of CAC and force to sign a second affidavit alleging that the one which he had signed previously was not the correct one and that he was unduly influenced. The same affidavit was later presented to court, but unfortunately it was sroundat the time when the court process server MrHaroun Okello had he gone to the CID headquarters in Nairobi to record a statement, and could not therefore be in Kisumu at the same time the same date and signed the alleged new affidavit. was reporting the incident of his kidnapping to the police.

As the endless legal tussle goes on in court the political leadership in Nyanza have steered clear and are said to have been compromised and went silent of this very contentious matter, which also required political goodwill.

These leaders have been outspoken on, other scandals like the Goldenberg, Anglo Lasing , Triton Oil, and the maize scandal, which is the staple food for millions of Kenyans ,but they have remained insensitive about the Miwani and Muhoroni sugar companies.

Some of the MPs including cabinet Ministers from Luo-Nyanza have been dinning with the Asian wheeler-dealer cartels that is out to grab Miwani farm to the chagrins of thousands of local residents from Kajulu and Kano plains, the indigenous owners of the land.

A number of cabinet Ministers from Luo Nyanza of cabinet Ministers, it is being alleged have been sabotaging the Government efforts to offload its shares from this public utility. One Minister whose name has come under serious allegation of complicity and being a compliant is Dalmas Otieno, the Minister or Public Service.

It is being alleged that the Minister is a frequent visitor to the Milimani house of directors of Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries Limited, and it is further being allege that he is the one who is fronting for the land grabber, by assisting to acquire the 10,000 acres prime sugar cane land. Once the nucleus estate is auctioned, Miwani will never come up again on its feet, because nobody will make a bid for its obsolete cane crushing machinery minus an estate farm to guarantee for the continuous raw cane supplies to the factory.

A number of Cabinet Ministers from Luo Nyanza are being alleged to have joined hands with those bent on sabotaging Government plan of selling Miwani Sugar Company to a vibrantbuyer of the firm which is currently closed down and hundreds of its close to 2000 strong labour force thrown into a state of joblessness and suffering.

A good number of farmers in the region have pointed an accusing finger at the Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno as the paint man for the wealthy Asian family in Kibos and Miwani areas involved in the corruptive deal to sell Miwani Sugar Company land

And the Minister for Agriculture William Ruto is blamed for failing to take a bold and firm decision over the dispute involving Miwani Sugar Company 10,000 nuclear estate.

The series of uncalled for court cases have delayed the sale of this important government investment, and the allegations that cabinet Ministers are also involved in the scam need to be actively investigated.

It has also emerged that an attempt to involve the Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his elder brotherDr. Oburu Odinga who is an Assistant Minister for Finance has hit the rock as the PM steered clear of the controversy.

But the area MP Prof. Patrick Ayiecho Olweny who is the Assistant Minister for Education is said to have been compromised by those who wanted to grab the 10,000 nucleus estate farm which belonged to Miwani Sugar Company.

Unless the Government moves with speed to resolve the matter with immediate effect it will lose millions of shillings in the Miwani Saga. It has yet resolve the question of the successful bidders of Miwani firm as a whole with intact nucleus estates farm.

The scam has currently raised political temperatures in the region with the indigenous people of KANO plains on whose land Miwani Sugar Company reportedly up in arms against any plans of selling the Company with all its assets intact including the sugar manufacturing plant so that it could ofer employment to the youths in the area.

They are vehemently opposed to the idea of selling or leasing the 10,000 acres nuclear estate to the Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries whose director is the same people who had run down Miwani Sugar Company when it was under the management of CAC

The Luo MPs will be judged harshly by the community for keeping their mouths shut and mum over the issue, it was only the Bondo MP Dr. Oburu Oginga who went down in history as the whistle blower when in December 2007 he raised the matter saying the 10,000 acres fertile sugar cane land has been sold foronly Kshs 28 million shillings.

Cabinet Ministers from the Luo Nyanza who of lately have become frequent visitors to Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries plant at Kibos near Kisumu and also at the residence of its directors, which is located on Nehru Road in the posh Milimani Estate.

They are doing so at the expenses of the Luo farming community in Kibos and Miwani areas as well as those resident of Kajulu and Kano plain locations, who were the indigenous owners of the land before it was forcefully grabbed by the colonialists at gun point and dished to the Asian farmers at the beginning of the 20th century,

Ends

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