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A Working Paper reveals the political stakes in the Kenya-Somali Illegal Sugar Trade!

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) have had a study into the border trade and sugar exports through Somalia into Kenya. How it is used and how it gets to the market. Clearly, the market for sugar is there in Kenya. As the Sugar Industry is struggling to deliver enough sugar and the state has embargoed imports. Still, the same actors and the same politicians are doing behind closed doors agreements that put the sugar in stores through the porous borders of the Kenyan-Somalian border.

The paper itself paint the picture very well and show the importance of the export, since the magnitude on both economies are affected by it. It is also implicating big names and their organizations. As the politicians has another black-market cartel item to sell to the public. What was striking was that the importers together with local merchants are repacking the sugar into bags of the State Owned Entity (SOE) of Mumias. The Company that has been saved the state after devastating corruption and also lacking investment into the mills. Therefore, the politicians has used this name to trade illegal sugar with name. That they even used the stickers to prove it was of Kenyan quality while selling it to the public.

The quotes I have taken, is what see as important. But its compelling to show the this illegal imports into Kenya affects the politicians and the economy in general. Take a look!

The Amount of Money:

Raw sugar accounts for 10% of total Somali imports rated at US $188 billion (Observatory of Economic Complexity 2016). In other words, sugar importing is enormously lucrative and important for the local economy on both sides of the border. The sugar imported from Somalia is central for covering the production and import deficit in Kenya. Most sugar enters through Kismayu port where it is manually loaded onto trucks and driven to the Kenyan border. There it is re-loaded onto other trucks, four-wheel drive vehicles and even donkey carts to cross the border on the so-called ‘rat routes’ that circumvent the border posts to avoid the payment of bribes, random checks by the Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA), and the occasional confiscation. Based on interviews and observation JFJ estimates that 150,000 tons of illegal sugar entered Kenya from Kismayu in 2014 (JFJ 2015). This amounts to US $400 million worth of annual revenue divided between KDF, Al-Shabaab, local businessmen and politicians, as well as local police and border patrols, including the KRA (though this is not formal revenue) (JFJ 2015)” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 10, 2017).

KRA:

The investigator explained how his unit, in collaboration with the Kenyan Revenue Authorities (KRA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), had planned the raid of a warehouse in an industrial area of Nairobi. They had found tons of processed Brazilian sugar allegedly smuggled into Kenya via Somalia, and it was now being repackaged from 50 kilo sacks into 500 gram and 1 kilo bags bearing the Kenyan brand Mumias Sugar and with added stickers from KEBS showing that the product meets Kenyan standards of production and quality. The repackaged sugar is – when not confiscated by the authorities – sold to retailers as refined Kenyan sugar at a huge profit. In 2014 a one kilo sugar bag sold for KES 133 in Nairobi supermarkets, and by May 2017 prices had gone up to KES 170 with some supermarkets rationing it to one package per customer” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 12, 2017).

Political Influence:

Like the former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, the Garissa governor Nathif Jama Adam, and the Garissa-born majority speaker of parliament Aden Duale are rumoured to be implicated in the sugar trade (Rawlence 2016: 236). These rumours reach all the way to Nairobi where they can be voiced more freely than in the north. The power of the people implicated by the rumours is more distant in Nairobi, whereas in the northern parts of Kenya the secrecy associated with the rumours points to the importance and power of those involved” (…) “With devolution, local government has become more powerful and more is at stake for locally elected officials due to their increased budget responsibilities and decision-making powers. Concomitantly, local government has become more vulnerable to pressures from local stakeholders like strong businessmen, militias and other state actors. The porous border, the circumvention of border patrols, and the implication of government officials ranging from KDF to KRA means that much of the sugar is not declared to Kenyan customs officials, making Garissa county one of the largest illicit markets in the country. The flow of goods across the border and further into Kenya formally falls under the responsibility of KRA and the national government. Yet the county government is responsible for local revenue collection and enforcement at local markets and car parks, and they also issue licenses for traders. In that sense the warehouses in the region fall under county administration. The latter thus plays an important role in the possibilities for the redistribution of smuggled goods” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 15, 18, 2017).

This here is evidence of cartels, illegal trade that is benefiting the political elites in Kenya and in Somalia. They are both having knowledge of it and its undermining the embargoes and also the activity itself. Since the politicians are the ones that has put in the provisions and the laws to stop imports to secure the local sugar industry.

This paper shows how much money that is involved. It is big business and the cartels are earning fortunes on lie, where they take foreign cheap sugar and trade it as Kenyan sugar with stickers of authenticity of KEBS. That is clearly a violation in itself, but combined with the illegal sugar, they are even using sophisticated methods to trade it to the public. To make the sugar seem like Kenya, when it isn’t.

That this money is shared by many different part of government officials was implicated int the trade from Kenya Defense Force Officials, Kenya Revenue Authority Officials, Border Patrol, Politicians and even Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabab. So the Kenyan are sending military to Somali to fight Al-Shabab, but at the same time giving them revenue with illegal sugar trade. That is a striking a fact considering the use of military to secure safety for Kenyans. Therefore, the cartels are also making sure the reason they are fighting inside Somalia are funded by the stakes into the illegal sugar industry. That should put some alarm bells on. That the politicians are playing with matches and should know that this cartel plus funding of Al-Shabab might hurt them in the long-run. Instead of being just a profitable business.

This is eye-opening and also a tale of corruption and sugar-cartels using the porous borders between the republics in favor of those dealing illegal sugar and selling it on the Kenyan market. Certainly, this sort of thing will implicate bigger names, than the ones mentioned in the paper. If investigated and looked through. You could certainly also find many bigger names who has created massive wealth within short amount of time. Peace.

Reference:

Rasmussen, Jacob – ‘SWEET SECRETS: SUGAR SMUGGLING AND STATE FORMATION IN THE KENYA–SOMALIA BORDERLANDS’ (December 2017) – DIIS Working Paper 2017:11

Kenya: Misleading Media Reports on Regulatory Tool for Curbing Counterfeit Devices on Mobile Networks (18.02.2017)

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Kenya: NCWSC is embarking on a Water Rationing program with effect from 1st January, 2017

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How the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) of Kenya ordered Electoral Material and by doing so; the IIEC Officials secured themselves on Government funds applied for Electoral Materials!

Hassan Issack

The main issue is that there are this printing company named Smith & Ouzman (S&O) Limited, who was hired to work for Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) in Kenya. They have had a shady agreement between the Government Organization of the IIEC with certain individuals inside the S&O who made the deals and contracts that will be explained.

This is taken from the Court Document from the Crown Court a.k.a. Southwark Court in London, and the court case this information is taken from is the “Regina V. Christopher Smith, Nicholas Smith, Timothy Forrester, Abdirahman Omar and Smith and Ouzman Limited”. The Southwark Court Note that we’re made by Mark Bryant-Heron and Trevor Archer on the 30th September 2014, and where this information comes from and says how the embezzlement, fraud and corrupt Kenyan Officials used the IIEC to gain profits for themselves. Take a look!

IIEC_voting_procedure_Kenya

Corrupt Officials and how the agreement happens:

“This included obtaining printed materials for those elections e.g. ballot papers. The count alleges agreement between the defendants and the agent, Trevy James Oyombra in the case of count 1, to make corrupt payments in relation to the award of and payment for contracts to print materials” (…)“A legitimate business transaction using an agent. The agent is retained by the supplier under a contract to use his best efforts on behalf of the supplier in the country the agent is operating in. Negotiations between the supplier and the customer will often include the agent who is there and can speak to employees of the customer. As a result of successful negotiations a contract (agreement) is reached between supplier and customer for the supply of goods which are duly shipped over and the customer is invoiced by the supplier. The customer pays the invoice amount and the supplier pays the agent his fee, which is usually a commission payment in this case.”

So you have the Agent Trevy James Oyombra of IIEC who made the agreement with S&O in order for IIEC to get the material and at the same to fix the invoice so they could corrupt own employees and embezzlement. This here was managed that way. As told here:

“The customer pays for that supply of goods in the normal way, but there is an additional payment to the corrupt official in accordance with the corrupt agreement between the supplier and that official. A corrupt payment in advance of delivery of the goods may properly be described as an inducement. A corrupt payment after delivery may properly be described as a reward. Both an inducement and a reward for showing favour to S&O fall within the definition of the alleged offences in this case”.

As it continues to describe like this:

“The dealings of S&O with the Independent Interim Electoral Commission in Kenya. The defendants charged with this offence are Christopher Smith, Nicholas Smith and the company, S&O. Their agent in Kenya was Trevy James Oyombra (“Trevy”). He was a party to the agreement to commit this offence and bribe officials. He was appointed by S&O as their agent on 5/10/08”.

How they did it:

“The defendants and the agent Trevy James Oyombra (known as Trevy) agreed to bribe a number of officials at the IIEC”.

How long we’re the tenders lasting:

“The defendants are Christopher Smith, Nicholas Smith and S&O. The agent in Kenya was, again, Trevy. There were three agreements for S&O to supply materials to the KNEC. The tender for the first of these contracts was submitted by S&O in September 2009 and the final payment by KNEC to S&O was made in November 2010”.

The value of the contracts between the S&O and the IIEC:

“The value of the seven contracts was £1,377,257. S&O received ten payments from the IIEC from 22/9/09 to 8/12/10 in the total sum of £1,366,976. From that sum S&O retained £980,834. £380,859 was paid to Trevy’s bank account. Of that sum the prosecution say that it was agreed between the defendants and the agent Trevy that £337,993 was to be paid on by Trevy in bribes to the IIEC officials”.

Chicken IIEC

Direct Payment to IIEC Officials:

“The payments received by S&O from the KNEC for supplying these examination materials was £282,339. The sterling equivalent of £9,604 was paid to the agent Trevy. It was agreed that he was to pay on the sterling equivalent of £2,803 ($4,000) to officials. In addition S&O paid £5,200 directly to two officials, Paul Wasanga and Ephraim Wanderi”.

So know we see the Trevy James Oyombra to able to fix the contract deals money directly to Paul Wasanga and Ephraim Wanderi in the Interim Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya, so that they could have tenders and agreements between S&O and the IIEC. So they would have the election material from them. This was the £5,200 to the men of the IIEC officials, which is a corrupt direct deal together with the £980,000 that was in the agreement payment to S&OThe IIEC got the rest and went officially to Trevy, but after that we’re directed to the Officials of the IIEC so the £380,000. So they had an agreement that £390,400 in bribes in between the agent, S&O and the IIEC.

By Election

A timeline for some of the transactions:

Contract 1: Shinyalu and Bomachoge By-Election

“On the 16th June 2009, Nicholas Smith wrote to the IIEC chairman, Ahmed Issack Hassan [Ex AFM 0293]. The letter referred to a meeting between S&O and Hassan at IIEC’s offices in Nairobi and quotes for printing voter registration forms, voter ID cards and ballot papers for the urgent Shinyalu and Bomachoge by-election. The price quoted was £32,526. The 200,000 voter ID cards and 20,000 voter registration (“OMR”) forms were quickly produced by S&O and delivered on 27/6/09” (…)”On 29/6/09 Nick Smith sent Trevy the “attached calculation of payment for the by election requirements”, adding that Trevy had been allotted £750 for his efforts. [AFM 0292]. Trevy replied by email on the same date 29/6/09, asking for his £750 to be increased to £1,000. Nicholas Smith replied the following day, 30/6/09, saying he had just texted Trevy and attaching what he described as the accurate figures” (…)”The remainder off that contract price is divided up between funds from the contract for S&O: £21,950 and a sum of £10,576 for “comm”. Comm, the prosecution suggest is short for “commission”. The email traffic makes clear who this “comm” is for. In the email of 29/6/09, which Nicholas Smith replied to, Trevy made it clear that it was necessary to distribute this sum covertly by sending it to Trevy’s account” (…)”Wiring to Trevy’s account would avoid suspicions according to Trevy and, Trevy informed Nicholas Smith, Karani had been in communication with the seven other members of the committee about this. He added that they (IIEC officials) had been informed that “this would be done” [i.e. payment made to the officials] after S&O received their money. In a further email from Trevy the following day, 30/6/09” (…)”On 4/8/09, Trevy e mailed Nicholas Smith: [AFM 0261]: “i had a meeting i the morning and assured mr. karani and es team that once you are paid that’s when you will send over something and karani got it clear from you at the hilton that this will be done on payment. once that has been done i told em we shall all go to my bank and ill give the chicken to karani although karani hasnt told em how much it is but that’s their business. i think all this came about since they are anxious and very broke.” (…)”In the event S&O shipped 142,350 ballot papers. Nicholas Smith knew about this and gave instruction to his staff to leave the quantity off the shipping invoice” (…)”Nick Smith contacted Trevy about this and Trevy advised Nicholas Smith to let Karani know that the number of ballot papers actually needed was less than 200,000. Trevy stated that he was having breakfast with Karani and others and that payment would be made on the contract as agreed” (…)”The invoice included a price of Ksh 11.52 per ballot paper. This reflected Trevy’s observation in his emails of 30/6/09, where Trevy stated that the commission for the voter forms was just for “the iiec guyz” and that the reason for increasing the price of the ballot papers from 9Ksh to 11Ksh was to pay Trevy his commission” (…)”The total commission figure was shown as £11,236. This reflected the payments to the IIEC officials and the £1,000 for Trevy, less a payment of £250 which had been made by S&O on 11/8/09” (…)”The following day, 25/9/09 S&O sent a payment of £11,576 to Trevy” (…)”Nicholas Smith then emailed Trevy: “Karani has been in touch saying he hasn’t heard from you. I guess he is after chicken. Please confirm all is distributed.”.

Here you can see how the S&O facilitated the bribes to the IIEC as they got the contract for the Shinyalu and Bomachoge By-Election, the amount of bribes are staggering and proves how the Electoral Commission Officials ate from the top to give the Contract to the S&O. The agent facilitated it all as using the Commission on the Agreement as the bribes to the Officials and using “Chickens” to explain the values of bribes and if they we’re paid the officials.

IIEC Electoral Material

Contract 2: 2009-2010 Voter ID forms.

“S&O secured a contract with IIEC to produce 18 million voter registration cards. The value of the contract was £278,838” (…)”On 30/12/09 Trevy emailed Nicholas Smith enclosing the details of other companies who had tendered, saying “have a scrutiny of these bidders and let’s talk after.” [AFM 0254] Trevy emailed Nicholas Smith again on the same day, 30/12/09, [AFM 0253] saying that “when it comes to handling these guys (chicken) I would prefer that if dena or karani or anyone tries to come directly to you please stik to your guns and let them come and discuss non official issues with me and tha involves chicken” (…)”The entries for ‘commission’ come to a total of £88,840. It is worth noting that after deducting the cost of the commission payments, airfreight and the cost of subcontracting the production of half of the forms, S&O only kept £96,579, out of which they had to pay the costs of producing half the forms” (…)”The pricing summary has the following entries “Comm K” £69,840, “Comm D + com” £6,000, “Comm O + H” £3,000 and “Comm T” £10,000. This summary therefore divides up the commission payments. 4 days after S&O wrote accepting the contract, Trevy emailed Nicholas Smith on 4/2/10, stating that “Dena and Chirchir will be in London and would like to meet you on Monday.” He stated they “were looking for a figure of 10 million ksh for emself, commissioners and others.” He advised Nicholas Smith to let them know the commission the “board have decided was 6000 pounds as we’ve earlier discussed to everyon without saying names…..dont mention uve met kebs or oswago or hamida.” Trevy went on to state that “these commissioners are seriously fronting and I know they are with punchlines….they want to reap where they do not sow.” (…)”The total amount demanded in bribes (“For emself, commissioners and others”) of 10 million ksh (Kenyan shillings) in Feb 2010 was worth £79,000. This comprises the three commission figures other than “Comm T”. “Comm K” of £69,840 is likely to be either a reference to KEBS, the Kenyan Bureau of Standards, referred to in Trevy’s email, or is possible a reference to Karani. “Comm D + com” of £6,000 is consistent with a reference to Dena and the commissioners and reflects the £6,000 mentioned in Trevy’s email. “Comm O + H” of £3,000 is consistent with a reference to Oswago, the IIEC Chief Electoral Officer, and Hamida, an individual connected to Oswago. Finally “Comm T” of £10,000 refers to Trevy’s commission. The bribes figure (removing Trevy’s commission) is a sterling figure of £78,840 which is close to the sterling equivalent of the 10 million ksh referred to by Trevy in his email” (…)”On 2/6/10 Nicholas Smith instructed S&O’s account department [AFM 0226] to pay to Trevy the balance of £44,420, which was included in a larger sum of £121,676.64 (the balance of which related to contract 3 below) which was paid to Trevy by S&O that day. [AFM 0013] The payment had been preceded by requests from Trevy for payment. On 1/6/10 Trevy emailed Nicholas Smith, chasing the chicken: “ive spoken to the ceo on delivery of forms and he will get back to me tomorrow. hes so happy iv mentioned that chicken will be with me on Friday or saturday. i hope you will be able to make the debit transactions to me today to facilitate me to have the payments done to them by saturday latest.” [AFM 0226] Nicholas Smith, apparently unsurprised by the confirmation that bribes were to be paid, replied “Our Finance Director isn’t in today so we can’t get this payment out today, but I will ensure it is made tomorrow.” The following day Nicholas Smith instructed that the balance to Trevy be paid”.

Another contract between the S&O to the IIEC Officials through the agents that used there terms to bribe them for the agreement. The bribe was in the range of £88,840 plus the agreed payment to the agents for facilitating it as the IIEC and S&O wanted all to earn money on the state coffers. The share value and price shows how much higher the price of the products becomes with the bribes, as the production cost the same as the bribes, so the price for production become the double and without would have been about half. That together with the commission and direct commission, together with the initial commission is the ones that make the production and procurement of the electoral material expensive in this matter!

IIEC Ballot Box

Contract 3: Referendum Ballot Papers.

“This was a substantial contract to supply approximately 14.6 million ballot papers and associated forms for a Referendum. The items were dispatched in July 2010. The total contract value was £431,161.15. Trevy’s fee for this contract was £11,872.05” (…)”The prosecution case is that bribes intended for officials at the IIEC and the Kenyan Bureau of Standards (“KEBS”) totalled £108,203.82, which was reduced to £105,193.82 to take account of “hotel” costs paid by S&O during a 3-4 day visit of IIEC officials to S&O’s factory on 14th July 20103” (…)”Trevy was upbeat about S&O’s prospects of landing this lucrative contract. He reported that S&O were popular by this time with the IIEC because of previous corrupt payments which had by this time been paid or were agreed and awaiting payment and because S&O managed to combine the corrupt payments with reliable quality of product” (…)”Trevy explained that the officials wanted to take the opportunity while they were at the IIEC to make money: “Please also be advised that these guys are also here to make money […] These people are only in IIEC till the end of the year so they are after making money and they will play game with whoever puts what they want. They’ve reiterated that its better to make money with us coz we don’t compromise on quality but at the same time they want to make money”. Trevy added that he had spoken to the CEO (Chief Electoral Officer, Oswago) on the telephone and he explained how a figure of KSh 0.92 (as part of the bid price) was split between bribes for public officials at the KEBS, commissioners at the IIEC, Oswago and Dena. Trevy stated that Oswago told him he did not want to work with one of S&O’s competitors” (…)”By contrast, Oswago had assured Trevy that he would continue to work with S&O, who had paid him bribes in the past and would continue to pay him bribes in the future: “He believes in S&O and that’s what is important and we’ve given him money for the voters card and after payment for balance and pouches we are set to give him Gbp 21000 that Kshs 2,100,000. So he knows we can deliver both materially and money and I think this good will is important” (…)”Trevy went on to discuss the level of bribes for officials at KEBS, which, at KSh 0.20 per ballot paper was lower than that proposed by the officials at IIEC (KSh 0.20 per ballot paper) and Trevy’s own fee (KSh 0.10 per ballot paper), which would all be added to S&O’s price: “KEBS [Kenyan Bureau of Standards] are key guys so lets shelve theirs to Ksh 0. 20 this and any other person who will be in the technical committee. I was of getting Ksh 0.10. This makes a total commission of Kshs 0.85 to be loaded to your price” (…)”On 12th May 2010, S&O produced their bid submission for the tender. The prices had been converted into Sterling. The total price for 18 million ballot papers was £448,200” (…)”Trevy then went on to report that the IIEC would pay S&O in advance for the Referendum ballot papers because it suited them to pay before the close of their financial year: “IIEC will pay us in advance for referendum ballot papers because of the close of financial year in June.” (…)”if S&O received an advance payment, they would pay immediately: “If it is a straight advance payment then of course we are happy, and the chickens will fly straight away”. (i.e. the bribes would be paid straight away)” (…)”On 7th June 2010, Nick Smith informed Trevy that S&O wanted to start printing the Referendum ballot papers on Monday 14th June in order to deliver them by 10th July [AFM 0224]. Four batches of Referendum ballot papers (totalling 14.51 million ballot papers) were dispatched between 20th June and 28th July 2010. The shipping invoices show the total value of those papers was £361,299.01. [AFM 0218, AFM 0217, AFM 0199 and AFM 0203]. The specific value for the last 10,000 ballot papers invoiced the IIEC £3,977.19 for a further 121,900 ballot papers and associated forms” (…)”On 14th July 2010, S&O hosted a 3-4 day visit from five officials from the IIEC, namely Hassan, Nyaundi, Oswago, Tororey and Sang [AFM 0172]. Nick Smith directed other staff to make arrangements for this visit, which included booking hotel accommodation for the officials. Hotel costs of £3,010 were later deducted from the bribes paid to the officials, which appear to relate to this visit” (…)”Trevy and Nick Smith agreed to invoice the IIEC for £7,550 for these papers. Trevy reported that he had told the IIEC the cost would be between “5 – 8 thousand pounds”. Nick Smith then suggested the invoice be made out for £7,400 to “subsidise the hassle-factor for the packing lists as there is a lot of time being spent on this” [AFM 0216]. The eventual invoice gave a price of £7,550 [AFM 0309]. Nick Smith told Trevy “I have included the usual commission in this, plus some extra special Trevy consultancy fee…” (…)”S&O made the payments on 25th August and 7th October 2010, sending Trevy payments totalling £172,837.27. The prosecution case that this included £117,065.87 to cover Trevy’s fee (£11,872.05) and the bribes to be distributed to officials in respect of this contract (£108,203.82 minus £3,010 “hotel” costs)”.

Chicken Gate

This here is not the whole of cases in the note or the whole picture; this is just a show off the viable transaction from the IIEC to their hired company to produce the needed electoral material or ballots through the Smith & Ouzman (S&O). They did this with a set-up through an agent Trevy who fixed the agreement between the IIEC, KEBS and other direct officials. This have been put on the top of the needed monies for the contract either as “chickens” or “commission” has been showed in the document and to the London Court.

This here was a collaborate approach as the company earned money on dealing this way with the IIEC and the Kenyans and continued getting contracts; not condemning the corrupt behavior, but even Trevy at one point felt the IIEC Officials was this on the 4th February 2010: “these commissioners are seriously fronting and I know they are with punchlines…. they want to reap where they do not sow.”

Even the Agent who facilitated the government officials and let them go with their corrupt behavior and securing them government funds to embezzle through fake invoices and with add-ons that was going to the Officials and not to the Company that sold the material. Even he was angered that they we’re eating without working for what they are sowing. This proves a certain mentality amongst the IIEC that they wanted it this way and wanted “commission” for the buy of government procurement. It was because with these arrangements the Officials got money and the Company made sure they could eat well on the monies spent by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) on Electoral Material to the elections held by the commission. This proves that the need for strong procedure and oversight by ombudsmen to stop this kind of embezzlement and fraud of the government funds. So that the money actually just goes to the Electoral Material, and not as extra fried chickens eaten by the Officials!

That is enough for today. Peace.

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