Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho has defended his family businesses including dealings with the Kenya Port Authority (KPA).
Speaking during the 7th Annual Mombasa Business Awards 2021 at a local hotel on Saturday, December 4, 2021, Joho stated that his family is in business with the Kenya Ports Auhtority (KPA) just like any other prominent politician or businessman in the country.
“Some say Governor Joho wants to own the port simply because my family owns some container freight stations," he said.
"Yes, my family is in the CFS business, so as Joshua Kulei, Mohamed Jaffer, Mitchell Cotts, Gideon Moi, Compact, Sam Kairu, Feisal Abbas and many others. Unfortunately, some people only see my family," he added.
The Mombasa governor stated that his family is the only 'indigenous' investor conducting business with KPA, wondering why he was at the end of the sticking rod from his own people.
He noted that he has always been opposed to the government's decision to transfer cargo clearance business from Mombasa to Nairobi Inland Container Depot.
“I shared with the public the contract that I believed was wrongly negotiated. Only if we stood together at the point of need, will we succeed. If you allow transporters to fairly compete with the SGR, everybody will work hard to do better. Just create incentives,” he said.
His sentiments came days after a probe revealed that some of the companies landing lucrative deals with KPA are owned by prominent businessmen and politicians.
The National Assembly’s Finance, Planning and Trade Committee asked KPA to provide details of how companies operating within the port are licenced.
The firms mentioned are Portside Freight Terminals Ltd (PFTL), linked to the Joho family, and Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd (GBHL), owned by businessman Mohammed Jaffer.
According to a report tabled before parliament, GBHL handles 98 per cent of all grain imported into the country.
The probe also roped in Maersk— the Danish international container shipping company.
Joho also defended the construction of affordable houses in the county through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme between investors and his administration.
This was occasioned by a demand from tenants and human rights groups that contracts between the county and the investors be published and made available to the public to ensure land is not grabbed by private developers.
Evicted tenants are also demanding fair compensation in the deal.
“The county government had a good plan to ensure residents become homeowners however there are concerns in the land ownership in the four estates.
“The project is being implemented on public land but our search shows private ownership. We want the governor to declare the truth," Haki Yetu land officer John Paul said.