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Mystery as Sh2b Malindi sugar ‘plant’ probe stalls

Mystery surrounds a probe at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) into a proposed multi-billion sugar plant at Galana Ranch in Malindi.

Sources at the anti-graft agency told us relevant offices are yet to be furnished with a preliminary investigation report three months after EACC formally enjoined the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the 6-year old dispute.

The delay stalled the construction of a sugar plant, which was allegedly to be put up by Prince of Saudi Arabia Sultan Bin-Nasser.

“It is not clear what has necessitated this delay. EACC wrote to Nairobi County Criminal Investigation Officer on February 10, 2016 after receiving a complaint letter over the conduct of businessman Hassan Babakar Osman of Somali Passport No P00156212,” a source at EACC said.

Directors of Arafco Agricultural Integration Company Limited broke ranks and accused Osman, a foreign businessman, of breaching an agreement that would have seen the establishment of one the largest sugar factories at the Coast by purporting to represent the Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Osman is an international broker who was to facilitate the construction of the sugar plant on 100,000 acres of land owned by the Agricultural Development Corporation in Malindi.

The Sh2.6 billion project has stalled for six years, resulting in several investigations by relevant agencies.

“It is alleged that Hassan Babakar Osman, holder of Somali passport No P00156212 came to Kenya in 2010, claiming he had authority of Prince Sultan Bin Nasser Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia to invest in a sugar project in Kenya,” part of the letter from EACC reads in part.

In a letter dated February 12, 2016, anti-graft agency acknowledged receiving a complaint in which Osman – purporting to act on behalf of the Prince of Saudi Arabia Sultan Bin-Nasser – failed to avail a sum of USD 216M to be invested in the sugar plant.

The parties entered into the agreement on 3rd August, 2010.

Arafco directors claim they scouted for and acquired the property in hope that Osman would bring the financing but he has since breached the agreement.

He promised to refund the local investor Nuh Abdulwahab a sum of Sh30Million regardless of the amounts he spends in securing an agricultural land.

Appearing in a Malindi Court on March 9, 2016, Arafco Agricultural Integration Limited through lawyer Robinson Kigen sought an extension of Interim Orders of Injunction restraining the Defendant from interfering with the property.

Osman has been using the property leased by the company and collecting millions of money and depositing in his personal accounts, according to an affidavit sworn on 19th January 2016.

According to Arafco directors, he has been obtaining money by false pretence. They accuse Osman of lying that he has workers at the leased property yet the company has never recruited any staff.

Osman has been transferring the funds to countries such as Sudan and Cairo as per his affidavit and documents produced in court without approval and knowledge of the company.

No funds have been deposited into the company account at Equity Bank since 2010. Hassan and Nuh Abdulwahab were signatories to the account.

Osman has denied having a Power of Attorney in the year 2010 that means he had no legal powers to sign any legal document on behalf of the prince in 2010 yet he signed Memorandum & Articles of Association of the company and the Lease Agreement for the land from ADC.

According to Abdulwahab, his accusations of forgery are therefore false and a smokescreen to cover up his inability to honour the promise of refunding his business partner 300,000 USD and for failing to inject 216M USD to build the plant.

The story of the case is contained in the attached Affidavit sworn by Nuh Abdulwahab on February 12 ,2016 and filed on 19th February,2016.

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