Surendra Patel, a Kisumu-based tycoon and proprietor of Foam Mattresses Limited is blaming the Odinga family for the stalled construction of Sh940 million sugar factory that would have created thousands of employment opportunities in Siaya County.
Patel had good plans of joining hands with local investors in the region to set up South Gem Sugar Factory Limited in Kanyilaji village with a capacity to crush 1000 metric tonnes of cane per day and produce 2.5 metric tonnes of sugar but abandoned it after members of the Odinga family demanded millions of shillings from him to back the ambitious project.
The former Prime Minister and Kibera MP Raila Odinga forced him to dish out millions of shillings to fund his presidential bid for years; his cousin, the late former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, and his sister Ruth Odinga now Kisumu woman rep, have all been oh his neck for bribes running into millions.
Apart from owning Tuff Foam Mattress Limited, which has production plants in Nairobi and Kisumu, Mr. Patel also owns Tuff Foam Mall in Kisumu, which manufactures PVC pipes, tanks, barbed wire, chain links, and other steel products, all creating employment for residents of Kisumu and Siaya counties.
The construction of the Sugar company was to take approximately 18 months, required 8,000 hectares of land for sugarcane cultivation, and was, in return, expected to create more than 300 jobs.
Odingas demanded millions from Mr. Patel to give the project a clean bill of health because the tycoon is also heavily involved in tax evasion and dumping substandard goods in Kenya by bribing rogue officials of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
Opposition Raila Odinga has had many links with corrupt Asian businessmen, including Mohammed Jaffer with whom he has had an on-and-off relationship as he seeks campaign funds. He recently exposed his affection for crooked business when he called on President William Ruto’s administration to release Sirisia MP John Waluke on bond or dismiss his case.
Waluke is serving a 67-year jail term after he was convicted of defrauding the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) of Sh297 million.
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