How a compromised security team in Busia make it easy for cane smuggling from Uganda

IG of police Hilary Mutyambai

The smuggled raw cane from Uganda is mostly destined to feed some of the hungry sugar milling facilities in the Western Kenya region, particularly the youngest miller in the region Busia Sugar Industries (BSI) in Busia County whose top managers have ganged up with brokers to purchase the cane at lower prices

PART TWO

By The Weekly Vision Investigative Team

Multi-government security agencies and departments’ chiefs and leaders stationed along the Kenya-Uganda border are embroiled in bitter disagreements over the multi-million shillings sugarcane smuggling rackets from Uganda into the country.

DCI officers, regular police and County Commissioners’ office are pointing fingers at each other, blaming one another for the failure to bring an end to the scandal, a source pointed fingers at top security officers stationed within the county he says should have stopped the rot long ago, but for some strange reason, that is not the case today.

CS Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Fred Matiangi

The smuggled raw cane is mostly destined to feed some of the hungry sugar milling facilities in the Western Kenya region, particularly the youngest miller in the region Busia Sugar Industries (BSI) in Busia County whose top managers have ganged up with brokers to purchase smuggled cane at lower prices per tonne than that stipulated by the government.

At the centre of the imbroglio are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/owner of BSI Ali Ahmed Taib who has roped in top county security chiefs, political leaders and other government agencies and departments situated at the border to protect his multi-billion shillings business interests. Government officials who are supposed to clamp down on the illegal vice have decided to turn a blind eye to the whole thing.

Predatory brokers involved are reportedly selling the smuggled cane to BSI at Kshs. 3, 500 instead of the government recommended price of Kshs. 40, 040 per tonne after buying it from Ugandan farmers at a price of Kshs. 1, 500

This state of affairs has triggered bitter resentments between some of the government officers who have been left out of the loop who are supposed to protect the interests of the Kenyan farmers’ when their bosses are reaping heavily from BSI to protect the rampant smuggling racket, thus leaving them hapless.

The illicit predatory brokers involved are reportedly selling the smuggled cane to BSI at Kshs. 3, 500 instead of the government recommended price of Kshs. 40, 040 per tonne after buying it from Ugandan farmers at a price of Kshs. 1, 500, local cane farmers are forced to sell the same price or less, the consequences are lost investments in production and rotting or dried up crops on farms.

Also Read

How a compromised security team in Busia make it easy for cane smuggling from Uganda https://theweeklyvision.net/2021/08/11/troubled-busia-sugar-industry-turn-to-dci-officers-to-fight-cane-farmers/

The Weekly Vision online investigations established that Kenyan sugarcane farmers mostly from Busia and neighbouring Kakamega, Siaya and Bungoma counties contracted to grow and supply raw cane to BSI are counting heavy losses as their crop has either been abandoned or left to turn into dried firewood while the illicit predatory brokers are smiling to the bank, daily.

Western Development Initiative Association (WEDIA) boss, Joseph Barasa said that brokers are instead creating a situation in which they are stealing raw cane from farmers for as little as Kshs. 1, 500 a tonne or less and getting away with it after the BSI management refused to harvest and transport it to the factory for milling.

When asked by our writer whether BSI had hired government security officers stationed in the county to do their dirty job of (protecting smugglers), the CEO Mr Taib said: “I don’t think so. We are just carrying out business as usual as any business entity will do. We are also protecting our business interests as any business entity to stay afloat.”

Pressed to comment on the concerns of the letter (in our possession) raised by the aggrieved cane farmers, Taib said that was ‘an internal business matter that cannot be addressed through the media which also conducts its business in its way.’

The CEO is on record saying that as a business entity, BSI will not shed off brokers and smugglers but will buy the raw material from the open market on a “willing seller, willing buyer basis at prices dictated by the supply-demand forces to stay in business.

He also declined to respond to queries why the BSI management had trashed with its cane contracted farmers like IMA, Agroline, Shiva among others and grounded its transport fleet to transport the harvested raw material from its contracted farmers’ farms to the factory for processing.

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