KRA Hits Rai Family With Ksh1.4 Billion Tax Demand

Jaswant Rai (centre) takes former President Uhuru Kenyatta round the Rai Paper in Webuye, Bungoma County in 2016.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has renewed a dispute with the wealthy Rai family over a Ksh1.45 billion tax dispute.

This comes barely a week after the family, which owns a good chunk of sugar millers in the country, expressed interest in taking over the operations at Mumias Sugar.

A report by Daily Nation on Sunday, June 20, indicated that KRA is seeking the tax for goods produced by Menengai Oils Limited and were destined for export to Uganda and Tanzania.

In a petition, the taxman revealed that it had evidence that the company never exported the products but sold them internally in an effort to evade the tax obligation.

KRA offices in Nairobi.
A file image of the reception area at KRA offices in Nairobi.

Justice David Majanja, after deliberating on the matter, directed the tribunal to hear the matter in lieu of the new petition by KRA.

This comes a year after the tribunal had barred the taxman from claiming the money following a strong defence by the defendant.

The judge further blamed the tribunal for not considering the evidence KRA had presented before giving freeze orders.

The wealthy Rai family returned in the limelight in mid-June over the acquisition of Mumias Sugar Company

Tarlochan Singh Rai, the family patriarch built a multi-billion empire with the help of his wife Sarjit, and their four sons.

The couples' sons Jaswant, Jasbir, Tejveer and Onkar are actively involved in managing the vast family business.

Jaswant chairs the Rai Group and was once named a board member of the Kenya Forest Service Group. Tejveer is the Managing Director of West Kenya Sugar Company - the company that owns Kabras Sugar.

It holds 45 percent shares in the sugar industry and owns the West Kenya Sugar Company, Olepito Sugar and Sukari Industries- which run Kabras Sugar, Ndhiwa Sugar. 

In Uganda, it's among the largest millers through  Kinyara Sugar Works, besides having interests in edible oils, fats and soaps (Menengai Oil Refineries), wheat farming, horticulture and real estate (Tulip Properties)  and sawmilling (Timsales - also associated with Kenyatta family).

A photo of Mumias Sugar Company in Kakamega County.
Boni Khalwale