The Kenya Revenue Authority has revisited a $13-million (Ksh 1.4 billion) tax evasion case against the multimillionaire Rai family. The Rai family owns Rai Group, a closely held family conglomerate founded by their patriarch, Tarlochan Singh Rai.
The authority claims to have evidence that Menengai Oils Limited, one of the group’s subsidiaries, sold products internally that were earmarked for export to Uganda and Tanzania in an effort to evade taxes.
Last year, the case was brought before a tribunal that prevented the Kenya Revenue Authority from seizing the funds, Kenyans.co.ke reported. After blaming the tribunal for failing to consider the authority’s evidence, Justice David Majanja directed it to revisit the case amid new evidence that has recently surfaced.
The news comes about a week after the family showed an interest in taking over operations at the distressed, state-controlled Mumias Sugar Company. Mumias Sugar is the largest sugar manufacturer in Kenya, producing about 250,000 metric tonnes (42 percent) of the estimated 600,000 metric tonnes that is Kenya’s annual output. The acquisition would make the Rai Group Kenya’s largest sugar manufacturer.
Rai Group is Kenya’s second-largest sugar miller through its West Kenya Sugar and Sukari Industries subsidiaries. It holds a 45-percent market share.
The group further owns Uganda’s second-largest miller through Kinyara Sugar Works. Through Menengai Oil Refineries, it holds investments in edible oils, fats and soaps. In addition, the Rai Group invests in Kenya’s saw-milling sector through Timsales. Timsales has also been linked to the Kenyatta family. Other investments include wheat farming, horticulture and real estate, which is carried out through Tulip Properties.
Key members of the Rai Group include Tarlochan Singh Rai, who founded the business empire, alongside his wife Sarjit. Their four sons Jaswant Rai, Jasbir Rai, Tejveer Rai and Onkar Rai all hold significant shares in the business.