, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has debunked claims that a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Chairperson of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Majid Saif al Ghurair, was planned to fix the IEBC ballots printing tender.
KNCCI Chairperson Kiprono Kittony confirmed in a statement on Thursday that Majid Saif al Ghurair indeed paid a courtesy call on the Head of State on October 5, 2016 after a business-to-business meeting between Kenya and Dubai’s Chambers, but that the visit had nothing to do with the Sh2.5 billion ballots printing tender.
“After our B2B meeting, as has been the practice with other business delegations from around the world, we paid a courtesy call to His Excellency the President. The meeting was attended by 10 people from both countries,” Kittony explained.
According to Kittony, the State House talks centred around Fly Dubai’s access to Mombasa that was pending, banking license moratorium imposed by the Central Bank of Kenya, work permits for new supermarket entrant Carrefour, investment opportunities in agriculture livestock, fisheries and infrastructure, opening of Dubai chamber offices in Kenya, and an update on the improved business climate.
“There was no private meeting held between the President and any member of the delegation,” he asserted.
Kittony further said that the business community appreciates the government’s contribution in attracting investors into the country, saying the politicization of such meetings would be unfortunate.
“Business meetings should not be confused with politics and we urge the political class to restrain from utterances that scare away investors that are in the country to do business and create jobs for our people,” he warned.
A statement issued by the Dubai Chamber indicates that a company identified as S.S. Lootah International inked a AED 500 million (equivalent to Sh14 billion) agreement with Hashi Energy, a deal that would see the two provide the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) with petroleum products, trucks, food supplies and financing facilities.
Al Ghurair, according to minutes provided by the Dubai Chamber is said to have thanked President Kenyatta for agreeing to facilitate the entry of members of the chamber into the continent through Nairobi.
“We are honoured to be approaching Africa representing Dubai’s private sector under the umbrella of the Chamber. By so doing we are extending our capabilities and potentials to contribute to the social and economic welfare of Africa,” Bin Saeed Lootah, CEO, S.S. Lootah International is quoted to have said during the State House meeting.
Al Ghurair was accompanied at the time by Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, Ali Al Fardan, Managing Director, Al Fardan Group of Companies, Adel Al Zarouni, Managing Director, Rivoli Group LLC, Eisa Bin Nasser Al Serkal, Chairman, Nasser Bin Abdullatif Alserkal Establishment, Mohammed Saeed Al Raqbani, General Manager, Dubai Investments Industries, H.E. Yahya Bin Saeed Lootah, CEO, SS Lootah Group, Lamin Sanneh, Head, Structured Finance, SS Lootah Group, and Mrs. Wifag Mabrouk, Deputy Manager, Lootah Technologies and General Trading.
The contact between President Kenyatta and Al Ghurair has been a subject of public debate since Raila Odinga – the NASA presidential candidate – claimed that it had everything to do with the award of the ballot printing tender to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
The electoral commission has however dismissed the claims saying the award was done on merit and on the basis that the was insufficient time to re-advertise the tender as had been ordered by the courts.