Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is definitely one of the wealthiest men in Kenya. His string of properties, spanning across multiple sectors, are top earners in his financial war chest. However, this hasn’t stopped erroneous rumours that have allocated to him businesses which, in reality, don’t belong to him. Top on this list is the popularly held myth that Spectre International belongs to him.
1. Spectre International
East Africa Spectre started was established in 1971 at the Kenya Industrial Estates (KIE) sheds on Lusingeti road off Likoni Road in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. It was then known as Standard Processing Equipment Construction and Erection hence the name Spectre. Being a pioneer in the field of Gas Cylinders manufacturing, it was a sole manufacturer of the product in East African region. The company’s market included major Oil companies like Total Kenya, Mobil Oil (now Libya Oil), Esso (bought out by Mobil), Shell etc.
In 1988, EAS entered financing agreement with Industrial Development Bank Ltd (now IDB Capital) for expansion funding. This resulted in putting up of a new factory along Mombasa Road.
While this company is widely thought to entirely belong to Raila Odinga, what most people don’t know is that it belongs to the larger Odinga family, and Raila’s elder brother, Oburu Odinga sits on its board.
2. The Molasses Company
Kenya Food and Chemical Corporation Limited of Kisumu commonly known as the “Molasses Project” This energy saving project was conceived by the Government in the 1970’s and was intended to manufacture gasohol from sugar cane molasses which was produced by sugar factories in Nyanza and Western Provinces . Land for the project was compulsorily acquired by the Government in 1976 at 4 million shillings but it stalled in the 1980’s and the company was put under receivership. However, Spectre International acquired it.
The rehabilitation project resulted in the commissioning of the plant in 2004. The yeast plant was completed in 2006 and the factory now produces industrial ethanol for blending with liquid (bio-fuels), potable alcohol for beverages and chemical industries, carbon dioxide, and bio and organic fertiliser yeast.
At the height of the factory’s operations, a daily output of 60,000 litres was achieved, but the current precarious state of the sugar industry has affected this. Nevertheless, the company employs directly more than 500 people and indirectly another 200. At the height of its operations, it remitted an average of Sh1.2 billion to the exchequer every year. It also exports to the Comesa countries.
The Kisumu Molasses Factory has partnered with local schools to build laboratories and boreholes, and to provide electricity and clean drinking water. It conducts a free medical camp every three months for the entire Kisumu area, bringing in doctors and buying medication, all of which is provided free of charge to the 6,000-plus local residents treated. It is helping in efforts to control and eradicate water-borne diseases in the area.
The Molasses Company, however, also belongs to the Odingas, and not owned individually by Raila.
3. The Opoda Farm
The Opoda Farm in Bondo, Siaya County was once an online sensation after lawyer Onyango Oloo claimed that the Odinga family manipulated the villagers within the locale into giving them the land by claiming that Jaramogi was on the verge of being made president by Kenyatta and so needed a bigger home.
The Opoda farm is yet another piece of property that is owned collectively by the larger Odinga family, yet is believed to be owned by Raila. As a matter of fact, elder brother Oburu Odinga reportedly has a bigger chunk of the huge rural farm.
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