Envoy: I didn’t endorse firm in the botched cashew deal

23May 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Envoy: I didn’t endorse firm in the botched cashew deal

CONTROVERSY surrounding the Kenyan firm involved in a botched 100,000-tonne cashewnut purchase deal with Tanzania has taken a new twist after the neighbouring country’s envoy in the country said he did not endorse the firm.

Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania Dan Kazungu

Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania Dan Kazungu has dismissed reports by a section of the media that he endorsed  Indo Power Solutions in the deal worth USD180.2 million (over 400bn/-).

On January 30, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) director Dr Hussein Mansoor and Indo Power Chief Executive Officer Brian Mutembei signed the deal in Arusha in the presence of Kazungu and senior government officials.

The latter included the Minister for Industries and Trade, Joseph Kakundi as well as the  then minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi. The Deputy Minister for Agriculture Dr Innocent Bashungwa also attended.

But when the government announced early this month that the deal was called off because the firm had failed to implement provisions of the contract on time, its profile came under scrutiny both in Tanzania and in Kenya.

In his response to reports of endorsing the little-known company to clinch the deal, Kazungu said in a statement this week quoted by the Kenyan media that his office only helped Tanzanian authorities in ascertaining the legality, including the registration status of the firm.

“Ultimately though, the final decision to award or reject any bid rested with the buying entity, the cereals board,” he is quoted as affirming.

He similarly noted that the Tanzanian High Commission in Nairobi confirmed registration of the company when the Minister for Trade and Industry directed the Tanzanian envoy to do a background check, in December 2018.

“When the minister wrote to Indo Power Solutions in January, requesting our mission to present the company’s documentation, we dutifully obliged and asked the company to furnish the mission with general ‘Know-Your-Customer’ documentation for us to determine its legality,” he is quoted as declaring.

The diplomatic mission’s commercial division wrote to the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Kenya on January 22, confirming that Indo Power was registered and incorporated on October 6, 2016 under the Companies Act, 2015.

“The company had an import certificate number KRA201700650595 to operate in the business of importation and exportation of soya and pigeon beans, cashew nuts, wheat, sunflower and carola oils, black pepper, green mug and others,” the envoy added.

Top Stories