Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), CEO Mohamed Bulle is under investigation over allegations of corruption, under-the-table dealings, and abuse of office, raising concerns about his continued stay in office.
Bulle, who has been in an acting capacity for five years, is accused of buying his way into office and engaging in shady land deals.
According to sources, Bulle took the board of ADC to a retreat in Nanyuki this week where he intends to convince them again to get an extension of his term in office.
“We are aware he has been buying his way into office. He has been in an acting capacity for five years, which is historic,” said a source.
“There are brilliant Kenyans who can take up the office.”
The sources say Bulle is above retirement age and should not be in office now as the CEO.
Bulle’s latest scandal involves a land deal with Mombasa Cement, which has cast further shadows over ADC’s operations.
The controversy has now extended to a legal battle between ADC and Mombasa Cement over 100,000 acres of land in Galana Ranch.
Sources say Mombasa Cement entered into an under-the-table agreement with ADC to get the land which is close to the river.
“Mombasa Cement should refrain from getting involved in the land issue,” another source said.
Hassan claims there were underhand dealings that led to the developments and that ADC board had not approved the move as required by law.
“I will fight for my rights. We know what happened and will fight this to the end and expose all those involved. How did Mombasa Cement start their work without a lease agreement is what we need to know,” he said.
Bulle said he could not comment on the matter because it is pending in court for now.
A court in Malindi temporarily halted the handover on November 9, 2023, pending a hearing on December 4, 2023, following a case filed by Hassan against ADC, Bulle, and Mombasa Cement.
Hassan claims he was illegally removed from the land which is part of Galana ranch in Kilifi.
Hassan, operating under Sahal Agro Holdings Limited, moved to Malindi Court and sued ADC, the Managing Director Mohamed Bulle, and Mombasa Cement Limited over the move to be removed from the Galala Ranch Block in Kilifi County.
Justice Evans Makori stopped the move to remove the businessman pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
He allowed the other parties to file replying affidavits within 14 days.
Hassan, through his lawyer Osundwa Sakwa Advocate, argued he had operated on the land for 16 years.
His lease issued by ADC had not expired.
He said the occupation was renewable for a further four terms of 16 years each for the purpose of operating and carrying out his business activities as per the lease.
Hassan for Sahal was granted a one-year grace period and was to pay a rent deposit of Sh4 million, which he did.
The businessman argued he planned to get foreign investors to invest in sunflower business on the land.
In 2015, the government issued an advisory to Sahal to temporarily halt their operation to allow for the installation of the main irrigation infrastructure.
Instead, Sahal was shocked to learn the land had been leased out to what he called a stranger despite the existence of the lease agreement.
The management of ADC has argued they were ordered by the president to cancel Hassan’s lease and hand it to Mombasa Cement.
He was evicted from the land in August 2023.
Hassan argued no reason has been given to him for the adverse and unlawful actions of the defendants, which are contrary to the rule of law and a blatant breach of the terms of the lease between the parties.
He attached the lease agreements in the matter as evidence to the case.
The matter opens a grueling legal tussle in courts over the expansive farm owned by ADC.
There are private entities on the land who have leased it for commercial use at a fee.
A Pattern of Historical Corruption
To contextualize Bulle’s current situation, it is crucial to examine events dating back to 2021 when Deputy President William Ruto and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri were in power.
At that time, acting Managing Director Mohammed Dulle and acting finance director Gerald Karuga were involved in tenders that raised eyebrows.
Dulle, accused of orchestrating the removal of former MD Richard Aiyabei, faced allegations of leaking documents to implicate Aiyabei in various scandals. Kiunjuri, in a letter to the Inspector General in July 2019, warned against Aiyabei’s dismissal, citing fraudulent payments and a questionable deal involving Sh4.5 million.
Aiyabei’s removal was linked to a debt owed to Twiga Chemicals Industries Ltd., and the subsequent involvement of auctioneers raised suspicions.
The audit committee recommended Aiyabei’s compulsory leave, revealing a pattern of corruption within ADC.
Dulle’s swift actions included appointing Karuga, previously involved in controversial land dealings, to the finance docket.
Karuga’s alleged association with Benjamin Kipkulei and land grabbing controversies raised further questions about the corporation’s integrity.
Despite the parliamentary committee’s demand for information on individuals who grabbed 30,300 acres worth Sh1 billion from ADC, the lack of transparency persists.
The ADC secretary admitted to not having information on the identities of the land grabbers, exposing a deep-rooted issue within the corporation.
As the legal battle over the Galana Ranch land unfolds, ADC’s history of corruption and questionable dealings has resurfaced, emphasizing the urgent need for a thorough investigation into the operations and leadership of the corporation.
The allegations against CEO Mohamed Bulle necessitate accountability and transparency within ADC.
The impending court hearing on December 4, 2023, will likely shed more light on the intricate web of corruption and unlawful actions surrounding this government agency.