Industrialist Jaswant Rai has withdrawn all cases at the Appeals Court that have obstructed the lease of Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) for years. This comes mere days after Rai’s reported abduction by unidentified individuals.
The case withdrawals, which have been at the heart of the revival of the once-mighty sugar miller, coincide with President William Ruto’s recent warnings of action against those allegedly exploiting cane farmers in the Western Region.
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Rai’s West Kenya Sugar formally submitted three withdrawal notices at the Court of Appeal to terminate the ongoing petitions that challenge the awarding of Mumias Sugar to the Sarrai Group, a rival entity.
Rai’s action follows another withdrawal by Vartox Resource Inc., a Dubai-based company, which also recently withdrew its petition challenging the leasing of Mumias Sugar at the same court. The coordinated withdrawals mark a significant shift in the legal landscape surrounding the fate of Mumias Sugar Company.
The sugar giant was placed under receivership in 2019 due to substantial unpaid loans owed to local banks and international institutions. Subsequently, a receiver manager was appointed, and the company’s lease was awarded to the Sarrai Group, a Uganda-based enterprise.
Sarrai Group officially assumed control of the facility in December 2021. However, Rai’s West Kenya, represented by their legal team, and Dubai-based Vartox Resources Inc. contested the legitimacy of Sarrai’s victory, initiating a series of court battles that prolonged the standstill at the firm.
The cases centred on Rai’s objections to the takeover of Mumias Sugar Company by the Uganda-based Sarrai Group, which is incidentally owned by Rai’s younger brother, Sarbi Singh Rai.
Notably, the Sarrai Group’s winning bid amounted to Sh11.5 billion, securing them the third-highest bid. In contrast, Rai’s West Kenya had offered Sh3.5 billion, and steel magnate Narendra Raval submitted a bid of Sh8.4 billion. Tumaz and Tumaz, connected to businessman Julius Mwale, had the highest bid at Sh27.6 billion.
These developments unfold in the context of President Ruto’s recent statements warning influential figures within the sugar industry of exploiting Western Kenya residents through protracted legal battles.
The President contends that these court cases have impeded necessary reforms within the sector. As the legal landscape shifts and powerful players reconsider their legal strategies, the fate of Mumias Sugar Company remains in the spotlight, along with its implications for the wider sugar industry in Kenya.