Ruto appoints ex-MP Criticos as chair Kenya Trade Network Agency


Former Taveta MP Basil Criticos. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

President William Ruto has named former Taveta MP Basil Criticos as the chairperson of the Kenya Trade Network Agency for a period of three years.

The former MP sold 2,526 acres of land to Dr Ruto, then served as the Deputy President, a move that drew criticism, especially from the landless in Taita Taveta.

Mr Criticos, however, defended Dr Ruto saying he purchased the land at market price in 2017. Dr Ruto’s Mata farm borders Criticos ranch and Lake Jipe to the South.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph 6 (1) (a) of the Kenya Trade Network Agency…I, William Samoei Ruto, …appoint— Basil Criticos to be the Chairperson of the Kenya Trade Network Agency Board, for a period of three years,” the gazette notice read.

The former MP served as an assistant Minister for Roads and Public Works in former President Daniel Moi's administration.

He is unsuccessfully tried returning to politics as Taveta MP.

During the presidential campaigns last year, Dr Ruto defended the purchase of Mata farm saying he helped Mr Criticos offset a loan he owed to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).

The former MP early this year won a case against the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) over a debt of Sh2.57 billion, arising from the auction of his land in Taita Taveta 14 years ago.

This was after the Court of Appeal ruled that the auction of the 15,994.5 acres in Taita Taveta in September 2007 was undervalued.

The land, which had buildings, sisal, quarry, and road network was sold for Sh55 million.

The land was sold to the Settlement Fund Trustees (SFT) to recover a loan of Sh20 million advanced to Agro Development Company Ltd, a company in which Mr Criticos was a director and a shareholder.

The former Taveta MP acted as a guarantor for the loan.

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