The High Court has rejected a petition by billionaire Jaswant Rai to revoke a milling licence granted to a competing sugar company in Busia County – Busia Sugar Industries Limited.
The petition was filed in 2018 by West Kenya Sugar Company Ltd, which produces Kabras Sugar – the leading company in the industry. The company claimed that Busia Sugar Industries Limited should not have received the licence because there was not enough sugar cane in the county, according to the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).
The company also demanded Ksh.50 million in damages for violation of its rights.
However, Justice Anthony Mrima dismissed the petition, saying that Rai was trying to circumvent other pending cases in court, especially one at the Court of Appeal.
The judge also said he could not find any evidence of discrimination against the petitioner by any of the respondents. He said that he did not understand how the company’s rights were breached or how Articles 40, 47 and 50 of the Constitution were allegedly violated.
West Kenya had previously argued that the licence given to Busia Sugar in 2018 was unlawful.
Rai had also challenged the registration of Busia Sugar, saying that it was done illegally and in defiance of a court ruling that annulled the registration certificate of Africa Polysack Sugar Company, which later changed its name to Busia Sugar.
West Kenya also accused AFA of failing to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment as ordered by the Environment and Land court.
AFA defended its decision, saying that Africa Polysack Sugar Company Ltd was no longer active in the sugar industry and that the legal framework for issuing sugar milling licences had changed since the Sugar Act. The authority said that it had reviewed and approved an EIA licence submitted by Busia Sugar and that it was a valid licence issued by Nema.
AFA also said that West Kenya did not have the exclusive right to process sugar cane and that it was not legally entitled to dominate the sugar sector.