Basil Criticos: Ex-MP Who Sold President Ruto 2,500 Acres Of Land Awarded Gov’t Job

Former Taita MP Basil Criticos PHOTO/COURTESY

President William Ruto has appointed former Taveta MP Basil Criticos as the Chairperson of the Kenya Trade Network Agency Board (KenTrade).

KenTrade is a state corporation set up in January 2011 to establish, implement and manage the National Electronic Single Window System and to facilitate trade.

KenTrade runs Kenya TradeNet System, an online platform that serves as a single entry point for parties involved in international trade and transport logistics to lodge documents electronically.

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In a gazette notice dated Friday, May 26, the Head of State noted that Criticos will serve in the position for a period of three years.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph 6 (1) (a) of the Kenya Trade Network Agency Order, 2010, as read together with section 51 (1) of the Interpretation and General Provisions Act, I, William Samoei Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, appoint— Basil Criticos to be the Chairperson of the Kenya Trade Network Agency Board, for a period of three years, with effect from the 26th May, 2023. Gazette Notice No. 10612 of 2021 is revoked,” the gazette notice stated.

Criticos is a close ally of Ruto.

In 2022, the former MP was put to task to explain his relationship with Ruto after it emerged that he sold him over 2,500 acres of land.

Responding to the queries, Criticos confirmed that he sold a part of his vast land to Ruto in 2017 when he was serving as the Deputy President.

Although he did not mention the price, Criticos said Ruto was financed by Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC) to purchase the land.

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He also stated that the transaction was above board and it was approved by the Taita Taveta Land Control Board.

“I was paid the market rate but cannot disclose how much I was paid. Ruto sent his valuers and quoted the price which we agreed in

“I did not fo him any favour and if he had quoted below the market value, I would have definitely declined to sell the land to him,” Criticos said.

In December 2022, Criticos also made headlines over a Ksh 2.2 billion compensation by National Bank following the bank’s move to auction his sisal farm 14 years ago.

As earlier reported on WoK, it was established that the auction of the land in Taita Taveta was undervalued.

The 15,994.5 acres of land had buildings, sisal, quarry and road network.

As a result , in May, Court of Appeal judges, Justices Roselyn Nambuye, Wanjiru Karanja and Patrick Kiage ordered the lender to pay Criticos.

“In the result, subject to what we shall shortly state with regard to the crops, we find the appellant’s valuation report to be solid in content and uncontroverted. It was not to be merely wished away

“And we are on balance persuaded by the appellant’s contention that the suit property was sold at an undervalue,” they said.

The land was sold to the Settlement Fund Trustees (SFT) to recover a KSh 20 million loan which was given to a company in which Criticos was a director.

The former lawmaker had acted as a guarantor.

In addition to the compensation, the bank was also directed to pay Criticos KSh 35 million surplus for the sale.

NBK was also put on the spot over excessive interest rates, declining the former MP’s offers to redeem the debt and selling the property at less than the amount he offered.

The bank sold the land to SFT for KSh 55 million through a private treaty, while the case was pending in court.

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