Two companies affiliated to business magnate Jaswant Rai’s family, who owns Rai Group Limited and one enjoying monopoly in the sugar industry in the country have won three Kenya Power tenders for the supply of wooden poles, totaling Sh151.9 million, as the power company works to connect more houses to the national grid and replace ageing transmission lines.
Comply Industries Ltd and Timsales Ltd will supply poles valued at Sh86.3 million and Sh64.6 million, respectively, under a one-year agreement, according to Kenya Power’s latest notice on procurement awards.
In addition, the latter will provide 18-meter treated hardwood poles worth Sh989,210.
The two companies are the biggest winners, followed by Carrolton Trading Ltd, which received Sh61 million under the direction of Josiah Muoka Mumo.
Kenya Power will now pay a total of Sh547.8 million to the 16 companies who won the pole tender.
Tejveer Singh Rai, Onkar Singh Rai, and Jaswant Singh Rai are the directors of Timsales, while Amaanraj Singh Rai and Rajbir Singh Rai are the directors of Comply Industries Ltd. The directors are Sarbjit Singh Rai, Sarbjit Singh Rai, and Nilesh Mahendra Mehta.
Poles of concrete the electric utility corporation said in December 2021 that it was seeking a total of 65 million treated wooden poles and 15 million concrete poles in a one-year bidding arrangement, indicating a U-turn from phasing out wooden poles in favour of concrete poles.
“Kenya Power & Lighting Company Plc (KPLC) invites bids from eligible bidders for one-year framework agreement for supply of poles. Interested eligible tenderers may obtain further information from the General Manager- Supply Chain,” the utility stated in part.
In 2020, the two companies won KPLC tenders to supply concrete and timber poles for Sh1.198 billion.
Timsales Limited was to supply hardwood poles for Sh112.87 million, while Rai Cement was to deliver concrete poles worth Sh70.13 million, according to the tender results.
Timsales tender award was the largest among the thirteen firms that have won the tender to supply wooden poles while that of Rai Cement was the second largest among the six companies that bagged concrete poles tender.
Rai family has interests in cement production (Rai Cement), edible oils and soaps (Menengai Oil Refineries), sawmilling (Timsales), wheat farming, horticulture and real estate (Tulip Properties).
The family has also retained dominance in the sugar market with its Kabras brand.
The miller increased its lead over its competitor, Butali Sugar, which came in second with 31,108 tonnes of sugar sales, followed by Kibos with 27,732 and Sukari with 27,606. With total sales of 25,122 tonnes, Mauritian Transmara Sugar Company, which was ranked second in the previous evaluation, fell to fourth place.
Rai family was also awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to handle part of Mumias Sugar Company’s operations earlier this year, and it plans to expand its sugar sector domination in East Africa by establishing a $42.4 million sugar facility in Western Kenya by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
With a production capacity of 3,000 tonnes of cane per day, the Naitiri Sugar factory will begin operations as an extension of West Kenya Sugar Company.
The enterprise would eliminate a 200,000-tonne yearly sugar shortage and stabilize Kenyan sugar prices.
The lease of Mumias Sugar Company however, took a new twist after the Treasury launched a fight against West Kenya owner Rai’s bid to lease the company.
Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia opposed the bid stating that Rai could be keen to derail the revival of the ailing miller to protect his factories.
Recently, the High Court has ruled that Sarrai Group Limited should keep off from Mumias Sugar Company lease until a petition challenging its operations is heard and determined.
The court directed that the application by Sarrai and Vertox be heard together.
Both will be disposed of by way of written submissions.
Interim orders were also extended to June 8, 2022 but the same will not affect the duties of administrator in office, Rao, who is still expected to handover the administration duties to a new administrator cleared by the court.