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Jaswant Singh Rai's Biography: Late father’s multi-million empire, investments in Uganda and family

Jaswant Singh Rai is at the centre of family business fortunes spread across East Africa and beyond.

Jaswant Singh Rai

A visit to the sugar section of the supermarket shelves, and you have most likely come across the Kabras Sugar brand.

One name commonly associated with this sugar brand is Jaswant Singh Rai, the billionaire chairperson of the West Kenya Sugar Company responsible for sugar production.

Rai has emerged as one of the most prominent businessmen in Kenya, with interests in real estate, manufacturing, and the hospitality industries in East Africa and beyond.

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Jaswant Rai was born in India and emigrated to Kenya in the 1970s, where he began his career as a businessman.

Jaswant hails from the Rai Family – one of the wealthiest families in Kenya. He is one of the five sons of his father, Tarlochan Singh Rai, who passed away in 2010, and his late mother, Sarjij Kaur Rai who passed away in 2020.

His cousin, Sarbi Singh Rai, owns the Sarrai Group of companies based in Uganda.

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Jaswant Singh Rai is at the centre of family business fortunes spread across East Africa and beyond.

The Rai Group of Companies controls more than half of Kenya's sugar market. It owns West Kenya Sugar, which in turn owns Kabras Sugar in Kakamega, Naitiri Sugar in Bungoma, and Ole Pito Sugar in Busia.

In 2011, the Rai Group took over Menengai Oil Refineries, responsible for producing Top Fry cooking oil, Menengai Soap, detergents, and skincare products.

In 2017, Rai established the Rai Cement production company along the Kisumu Kericho Road.

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In the timber sector, Rai is the force behind Timsales. The company is one of the top suppliers of wooden poles, plywood, ceiling boards, and wooden tiles.

Rai also holds an interest in paper production through the Rai Paper Mill, a company he acquired from the government in 2015. In real estate, the company has investments through Tulip Properties.

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Jaswant Rai's cousin, Sarbi Singh Rai, owns the Sarrai Group of companies, with its base in Uganda.

The tycoon moved out of Kenya after a falling out with Jaswant, which led him to establish businesses in Uganda, Malawi, and Tanzania.

The group comprises over 10 companies in Malawi and Uganda, including three sugar mills. It is responsible for the Kinyara Sugar brand in Uganda.

The Sarrai Group also possesses a number of companies with interests spanning plywood, wheat, soap, edible oil, and mattress manufacturing.

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Jaswant Rai and his two brothers, Jasbir and Iqbal, are engaged in a court battle over the control of their late father's wealth.

The core of the dispute is the Will dated December 17, 1999, allegedly left behind by Tarlochan Singh Rai, who passed away in Mumbai, India.

Jasbir and Iqbal object to the Will, stating that the patriarch could have been coerced into creating the document that distributed his assets among his eight beneficiaries.

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