Trouble is looming for Raila key financier Mohammed Jaffer and former governor Ali Hassan Joho as the William Ruto government now seeks to cancel their contracts with SGR.
Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen yesterday lifted the lid on the contract that Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) entered with private companies for the transportation of cargo through SGR in 2018.
While responding to questions tabled by Gichugu MP Gichimu Githinji, Murkomen (pictured) listed Grain Bulk Handlers Limited and Auto Freight Terminal as the two companies that KRC entered long-term contracts of 30 and 45 years respectively.
This is as the Auditor-General flagged missing documents in a contract that saw a logistics firm Autorports Limited linked to the family of former Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho offer the deal to operate at a taxpayer-funded terminal for standard gauge railway (SGR) cargo.
The public auditor’s office said it was unable to trace a notice from Autoports Freight Terminal Limited expressing its intention to handle SGR cargo from the Mombasa port to the inland cargo terminal.
The auditor general also noted that the letters were forged.
The government seems to be going after Jaffer on his Bulk grain business as president Ruto seeks to ensure there is cheap food within the country.
The troubled billionaire may also lose his grip on the LPG sector. This is after it emerged that the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) will be giving a licence to Tanzanian firm Taifa Gas Investment to construct a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import and storage terminal in Mombasa before the end of the year.
EPRA said it would review afresh an application by Taifa Gas after an earlier undisclosed “shortcoming” saw the firm denied a licence after influence from the Mombasa-based businessman Mohammed Jaffer.
Jaffer controversially built his business empire by leveraging on political patronage and has been the main benefactor of ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga by funding him to a tune of millions in the 2022 election and previous elections.
To date, there have been tens of investigations on the unfair monopoly of Mohammed Jaffer’s companies including Grain Bulk Handling Limited (GBHL) but no action has been taken.
Maize and other grains are expensive because of the monopoly that GrainBulk Handlers has been enjoying for many years and now he has been trying to block all other players in the industry.
Through alleged bribery, Jaffer has also been accused of completely taking over the imports, distribution and retail business in the LPG sector undercutting other companies and driving them out of business altogether the latest tactic is buying off competitors who feel helpless and have to allow Jaffer to buy them off.
At one time in Uhuru’s regime, the National Intelligence Service joined the crackdown on the illegal exchange of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders as part of measures aimed at controlling illicit refilling rackets in the country but was told to go slow after the handshake.
Jaffer is said to be close to high-ranking judges in the Judiciary including distinguished magistrates like Court of Appeal Judge Alnasir Visram.
With the deep connections within the corridors of power, the tycoon wins a majority of cases filed against him or any of his firms and evades scrutiny.