Deputy President William Ruto has opened up on his ownership of the Mata Farm in Taita Taveta. The DP says that the 2,536-acre land was gifted to him by former Taveta MP Basil Criticos.
The farm is located in Mata ward. It borders the vast Criticos ranch and Lake Jipe to the South.
Apparently, he was gifted the land after helping the former MP to offset a loan he owed the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).
“I am also a Mata elder because I helped the former Taveta MP to settle his loan at AFC and he gave me a portion of land,” the DP said.
The deputy president grows maize and rears cattle at the farm. He has been previously accused of diverting water meant for the residents and forced hundreds of households to go without water.
His farm manager, Arie Dempers, has also been accused of harassing neighbours and workers at the farm.
The deputy president is currently one of the wealthiest politicians in Kenya, with a huge chunk of his wealth formed around agriculture.
In April 2022, the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) was ordered by a court to pay Criticos more than Sh. 2.2 billion after auctioning his sisal farm 14 years ago.
A bench of three Court of Appeal judges found that the auction of the 15,994.5 acres in Taita Taveta belonging to Criticos in September 2007 was undervalued given that there were buildings, sisal, quarry, and road network on the land.
The land was sold to the Settlement Fund Trustees (SFT) to recover a loan of Sh. 20 million advanced to a company in which Criticos was a director and a shareholder. The former Taveta MP acted as a guarantor and the bank sold the land after he defaulted on repayment.