Busia Sugar in secret talks to sell company to rival Butali Sugar

Contracted sugarcane farmers in Busia are not aware of the ongoing, highly secretive talks taking place between the management of BSI and that of Butali Sugar over the selling of the company to the Kakamega based miller

By The Weekly Vision Investigations Desk

A company conceived in trouble, born in trouble, bred in trouble and above all thriving in troubled waters is the story of Busia Sugar Industries (BSI). The Weekly Vision online has learnt of an alleged ongoing secret negotiation to sell BSI to Butali Sugar Company based in Kakamega County, with all the trouble the company is facing. 

BSI was conceived in trouble following vicious competitions to get a license from the former Kenya Sugar Board (KSB), born in trouble with equally vicious legal troubles battles to stop its construction, bred and thriving in trouble over its brazen abandoning of its local contracted farmers’ sugarcane to that illegally smuggled into the country by brokers from Uganda.

The shocking revelations are emerging hardly two and a half years after it started milling white sugar from its factory located at Busibwabo market, Matayos sub-county in Busia County After years of legal battles orchestrated, engineered, financed and orchestrated by one of the BSI competitors who wanted to see the factory die at infancy, a phenomenon that triggered thousands of county residents to go up in arms in support of the miller, the same miller who is allegedly now selling it out to Kakamega County based Butali Sugar Company.

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These are highly secretive operations that farmers in Busia are not aware of leave alone Busia County residents who mortgaged their vast acreages of land and investments in contracts to supply the company with the raw material.

Plans to sell BSI are happening when the company is reeling from gross mismanagement from its very owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Taib who manages it from more than 500 kilometres away in Nairobi when the company is based in Busia on the Kenya – Uganda border

The worst aspect of the whole business is the fact that these people have been betrayed by BSI which under the leadership of Ali Ahmed Taib has chosen to deal with predatory voracious and deadly sugarcane brokers to supply it with the raw material smuggled cane instead of procuring the same from desperate Busia County cane farmers.

Emerging facts are that plans to sell BSI are happening when the company is reeling from gross mismanagement from its very owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Taib who manages it from more than 500 kilometres away in Nairobi when the company is based in Busia on the Kenya – Uganda border.

The others are that still in its infancy Mr Taib has embarked on a programme of sacking highly qualified people from within the region and systematically replacing them with outsiders whose qualifications are highly questionable.

In due process denying the locals who fought for the construction of that factory employment with the worst hit being sugarcane farmers whose cane is rotting on farms. The story does not stop there, as it also erupting that even the managers are being paid peanuts to take home in salaries apart from the foreigners.

 Butali Sugar Mills was established in January 2011, its located in the neighbouring county of Kakamega with a capacity of 2500TCD, the company provides indirect employment to over 30,000 sugar cane farmers. The CEO manages the operations of BSI from its mother company Africa Polysac Ltd (APL) off Mombasa Road in Nairobi.

The other critical issue is the billions of shillings local farmers may lose in investments ploughed in sugarcane production since 2017 as the factory was in the stage of being constructed before it started milling in March 2019, Is BSI going to be forced to compensate these farmers for losses as it had turned to brokers before it sells its interests to Butali Sugar? As at the time of going to press multiple sources had confirmed the secret plans by BSI to pull off the sale mainly because of its management failures but the CEO remained mum on inquiries over these developments that may have far-reaching consequences on local cane farmers.

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