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No, Rai Group not shutting down Kenyan operations – viral reports fake

IN SHORT: Jaswant Singh Rai, owner of Rai Group, is one of the most prominent businesspeople in Kenya, with interests in the real estate, manufacturing, sugar and hospitality industries. But rumours that he is closing down Kenyan operations are false.

“EXCLUSIVE: Billionaire and Businessman Jaswant Singh Rai has summoned all managers, managing his companies, and agreed to close the companies soon and move else where outside Kenya,” reads a post published on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The post, which has been viewed over 500,000 times and generated as many comments, was posted on 25 September 2023.  

According to the post, the company's managers had been called in to discuss the closure of a number of businesses across the country. 

The same claim is circulating on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

In August 2023, president William Ruto made remarks believed to be directed at Jaswant Singh Rai and his brother Sarbjit Singh Rai. The latter owns the Uganda-based Sarrai Group which took over the management of Mumias Sugar Company in mid-2022. Mumias Sugar is the largest sugar manufacturer in Kenya.

Ruto warned those fighting for control of Mumias Sugar to withdraw all pending court cases and leave the country.

But is Rai Group now shutting down its Kenyan operations? We checked.

False post about the Rai Group

No evidence for news

Africa Check searched for trustworthy reports of the closure of any Rai-owned companies in Kenya and came up empty. It has not been reported by any credible media.

We only found posts with the claim on social media, where users did not include any source for the information.

‘Regrettable misinformation’

On 25 September 2023, in a statement sent to Africa Check, the management of Rai Group dismissed the reports that it is exiting the Kenyan market and called the allegations “regrettable misinformation bordering on unhelpful propaganda”.

“The management at Rai Group of Companies wishes to inform all its business partners, stakeholders including farmers, employees the media and indeed the general public that the information circulating on social media platforms to the effect that Rai Group is closing down all its operations and is relocating to another country is, to say the least, regrettable misinformation bordering on unhelpful propaganda coming at this time of severe economic challenges,” the statement read, in part.

The messages circulating on social media should be ignored.

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