A system held to ransom

Public interest and health under assault by official complicity

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The contaminated sugar impounded and boarded in various go-downs by the multiagency taskforce on illicit trade in Mombasa, Webuye, Nakuru and Nairobi was last month being released in haste.

Our informer says that this was on instructions from people in high office, in a rush to allow the Rai Family to sell its consignments ahead of Parliament’s report debate, to pre-empt the people-friendly proposal on destruction as recommended.

The high stakes gamble was meant to forestall huge losses in a business deal that involved money owed to Commercial Bank of Africa in guarantees for import letters of credit for the imported sugar, issued by Diamond Trust Bank.

Having been extensively mentioned in the scandal, the Rai-owned Kabras sugar brand, also began packaging less in Kabras branded packaging and more in Sukari and Sugaken brands, to manipulate consumers who could not be expected to know better.

Open bribery

When the story first broke out, the Rais first gagged Nation Media and its journalists through Oraro Advocates through threats of a frivolous suit. In the meantime, in a well-documented spectacle, the Rais, through Jaswant Rai, bought their way through Parliament using the joint-chairmen of the committee that was appointed to grill them.

The committee chairmen allegedly pocketed more than Sh30 million each. Journalists were also bribed to provide a spin about the sugar industry, to take away focus from the poisonous sugar and into the ills that bedevil Kenya’s sugar industry.

Suddenly, it was no longer about mercury, bacteria or mould but about the gatekeepers and regulators. The focus around the woes of Cabinet Secretaries Mohamed Adan, and Henry Rotich was well orchestrated to take away focus from Jaswant, a man whose factories blend dirty, imported sugar with what he processes from contracted sugar cane poached from Nyando, Transmara & Migori.(

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