The police yesterday raided the Untouchables Rai Family and seized 60, 000 bags of illicit Sugar in what appeared to be a well coordinated operations at the Rai Group owned facilities at Pan Paper Mills in Bungoma County’s Webuye town and the West Kenya Sugar factory at Kabras in Kakmega county.
In an operation involving more than 15 vehicles detectives and the regular police swarmed on the two facilities where local journalists were barred from entering the premises to cover the unfolding events for the first time the government’s arms of the law touching the untouchable Moghuls.
The impounded sugar is part of the contaminated raw sugar that has been flooding the local market, which the cabinet minister for interior Fred Matiang’i has since publicly announced that it contains copper, mercury, and yeast among other dangerous chemicals that are dangerous to human lives.
The raw sugar is imported from foreign countries tax free and is supposed to go further processing which is not done, but is packaged in the Rai group’s go downs and factories and sold as Kabras sugar to consumers all over the country.
Angaza News has also established that apart from the West Kenya Sugar factory in Kakamega County and that midget one at Olepito on the Busia – Mumias highway near Tangakona in Busia County, the Rai Group whose Kingpin is Jaswant Singh Rai also owns Kinyara Sugar factory in Uganda, Sukari Industries in Homa Bay.
License to all these sugar processing facilities were acquired when Jaswant through his powerful influence and connections in the government wormed his way to be a member of the now defunct Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) that was the regulatory authority of the industry.
To date that influence triggered the never ending sugarcane poaching crisis that has brought the industry to its knees with no end in sight as the Moghul entrenches himself in the sector with systematic ruthless and deadly impunity.
That is because of the fact that despite all these acquisitions in the sugar industry, the Group does not have a single sugarcane farmer contracted to supply the raw material to its factories, nor does it have any programmes to invest in sugarcane development as required by law.
The worst aspect of the whole business is the fact that Jaswant while a director of the defunct of the KSB was on the forefront in ensuring that the Sugar Development Levy for cane development was scrapped thus leaving the development of the sector naked and rootles.
Which brings in the critical question why the Cabinet Secretary Environment Keriako Tobiko has appointed the same calculating and ruthless character, Jaswant Singh Rai to the board of directors the Kenya Forestry Services (KFS).
That is knowing full well the vast multi-billion shillings business interests he has in companies which totally dependent on forest products that is trees as their raw material? They are Pan Paper Mills which was brought down by the other forest raw material depending entity Rai Plywoods Kenya Ltd of Eldoret Uasin Gishu.
Capping that query is the fact that considering the havoc the Rai Group is wreaking in the sugar industry in the country with poisoned sugar packaged as Kabras Sugar, what have havoc is he going to wreak in the beleaguered forestry?
The raids on West Kenya entities are coming up in the wake of the multi-government security agencies impounding more than 3000 bags of contraband contaminated sugar in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate which is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Rai Group entities that were targeted in the current operations are also just a tip of the iceberg on how heavily involved, Jaswant has been and is till manipulating the sub-sector and going home laughing with billions of shillings in his pocket as the consumers lives are consigned to the grave.
What is emerging is the fact that the Rai Groups business interests all over the Western Kenya region, Rift Valley and especially the go-downs at the coast should be raided to get to the root of the matter.