MV IVS Pinehurst after it docked at the port of Mombasa on Tuesday with 29,900 tonnes of maize. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGAMV IVS Pinehurst after it docked at the port of Mombasa on Tuesday with 29,900 tonnes of maize. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA
By JOHN KAMAU

As many questions remain unanswered on the identity of the billionaire millers who brought in the cargo of maize, what is clear is that they have been here before – done that.

When the saga broke, the first name to be mentioned was that of Holbud (UK) Limited as the company that shipped the maize from Mexico.

The last time Holbud was mentioned in Kenya it was about a maize scandal.

That time, in 2004, the National Cereals and Produce Board officials had sold maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve to Holbud at “uneconomical prices”, according to a report by the Inspectorate of State Corporations.

Holbud, then, was allocated 1 million bags — which it sold to Zimbabwe — after then-Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Shem Migot-Adholla ordered the sale “to offset NCPB’s debt to farmers”.

The report said Holbud had neither asked to buy the maize nor tendered for it.

SIMILAR CRISIS

Interestingly, earlier in 2002, the same firm had been allowed to import more than 16,000 tonnes of maize from Durban, South Africa, when the country faced a crisis similar to the one we are in today.

And now, questions are once again being raised on this company, which docked in Kenya with 29,900-tonnes of maize this week.

Based in the UK, the company is run by Hasnain Roshanali Merali, David George Rowe, Mahmood Gulamhusein Khaku and Shaukat Akberali Merali.

But according to some court filings — regarding a Holbud ship, MV Ya Mawlaya, which had an accident in the US, both Holbud and Hydrey (P) Limited are “related companies controlled by Roshan Merali”.

Read teh full story here.

SOURCE: Daily Nation