Karuturi tries all tricks to raise $180 million he badly needs to develop Gambella farm he rented for chickenfeed and without having the resources 31 JAN By Keffyalew Gebremedhin

February 5th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Ramakrishna Karuturi, owner of 310 000 hectares of agricultural land in rural Ethiopia is both controversial and ambitious. He is a person possibly possessing dangerous combinations of humour and mercilessly shady qualities that in future too may underlie his successes in Ethiopia in his determination to pursue fame and fortune through the control of ten percent of the world’s rice production and market.

There is nothing wrong with such ambition and getting rich with good integrity. Nevertheless, the problem with Karuturi — a person with big ego and a mouth that because of his arrogance betrays his entire bag of tricks to go about it — is dangerous. He is prepared to deploy anytime his unsavory schemes so long as they serve his goal of getting rich quick.

Unfortunately for him, he sets out to this goal by underestimating the capacities and intelligence of people he is dealing with in Ethiopia. So far, there is no doubt that because of their folly those in high government positions have facilitated everything he needed. To this day, I say it with all sincerity, I cannot see the gains for Ethiopia those people in power see.

One thing he has not realized about Ethiopians is that we all share the common trait of valuing integrity. It means that we are likely to remain wary of controversial individuals, such as him, that go for success by any means. In some sense, he compels my mind to line him up with the class of Gordon Geikko, who deified greed in the Wall Street movie with Michael Douglas played an impeccable performance in depicting the real character.

What I hear is the voice of Karuturi with similar tone as Geikko’s, lecturing in the video one of his admiring lieutenants on his Gambela farm about his principle that “some times scandal is good.”

Not surprisingly, therefore, in late August and September Mr. Karuturi floated the idea that he was about to rent out 20,000 hectares of the land to Indian farmers. The 12 October 2011 issue of the Bangalore also confirmed the story.

Addis Fortune also reported on October 30 that Karuturi Global was in talks with the Indian Water & Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) that is empowered by government to enter joint ventures and subsidiaries to provide consultancy services in flood control and the design of irrigation and drainage systems to build dike around the farm. It is not clear if Ethiopia’s institutions were consulted whether this would have any other implications.

His plan could not materialized, least of all not because the Meles regime opposed it. When protests all over the world reached crisis points about this scandalous move, Karuturi denied he had any such designs. The external pressure forced him to retract the plan, at least for only a while.

Not long after, however, the Indian Ocean Newsletter on 13 January 2012 reported that the first clash between Mr. Karuturi and the Meles regime occurred in late 2011, when the Indian investor approached the ministry of labor and social affairs (MoLSA) to issue work permits for a few hundred Indians he allegedly brought into the country as workers on his farms.

The truth came out when MoLSA consulted the ministry of agriculture (MORAD), whether this is in accord with the country’s laws and needs. For the first time, MORAD washed its hands off Karuturi’s shady affairs, in small ways though, according to the newsletter, stating that permits would be issued to foreigners only when local manpower is lacking or insufficiently qualified for the relevant jobs, but not for farming. With that Karuturi was told to return those people back home.

Perhaps this is not the end of this story. Although the terms of the contract would prohibit him from doing so until 75 percent of the farmlands he has rented are developed, Karuturi may still be knocking at the doors of top TPLF officials to get this by past this hurdle. He may also involve the Indian government to stand by its native son, who is trying to expand employment opportunities for Indian laborers in Ethiopia. After all, for India and Karuturi, Ethiopia may only appear as mere aid and loan seeker. Please bear in mind that Ethiopia deserves something better than mortgaging the future of our children — as happened to generations of millions of East Africans that lost their right to properties and power to Asians.

Wonders never end with Mr. Karuturi. Addis Fortune of 29 January freshly reported that the Indian investor/farmer “is planning to go public, floating 200,000 shares worth ETB 1,000 each to local investors, once it gets the nod from its board of directors. The shares will be short-term, with a guaranteed annual return of 10pc in dividends.” It is attractive.

The question is how can the agreement allow him to do such things, when he has not developed any part of the land? The TPLF regime would need to see this for what it is. They dispossess citizens of their leased lands for not developing them. What makes it right for this foreign investor who took this huge chunk of land for chicken feed to get away with it?

Why is Karuturi going the crooked ways to raise money? When everything else he has tried failed to raise an additional $180 million Karuturi Agro Products Board has agreed to develop the land, he now seems to prefer to hitchhike to his goals with the sell of shares ETB 1,000 each.

I will bet anyone, we have not heard the last tricks of Managing Director Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi of Karuturi Global!


  1. Mareshet Gomoraa
    | #1

    Let us get rid of the Weyannes and then this racist Indian called Karuturi before he manages to build in own backyard such a massive interest so that to justify for his government to send an expedition force to protect the looted wealth. Oh God, this Melse thing is even a worse banda than his grandfather was. While old Zenawi was selling eggs to the solatos, this one is selling a huge chuck of land to anyone he gives him a few dollars for his wife. Melese is hopelessly anti-Ethiopian. The primary responsibility of removing the thug is in on Tigirans but we should also fight with our nails and teeth to get rid of him, Enough is enough.

  2. Chalew
    | #2

    This is a carefully designed conspiracy by MZ and Karturai to bring Ethiopians on board so that they become complacent in crime of century a forceful evection of communities from their ancestral land – land grab of unprecedented proportion. There should not be any doubt in anyone’s mind that this is a crime. Ethiopian of good concise should resist the temptations.

    Everyone should be warned that a crime has already been committed and the evidence is clear, the criminals are trying to get shareholders in their crime-based enterprises but not their legimate business company. People have died and are being killed for this. For those greedy Ethiopians who would like to become the banads of 21 century, I would like to warn them that it is no worth it. Birr has become such a worthless currency the sheer number of zerro in the value of the share shouldn’t cheat you. Leave the crime to the criminals to Karturi, MZ, Azeb Mesfin and Al moudin

  3. Muluken
    | #3

    this banda Melese would do more damage than his evil grand father wait and see

  4. Dawi
    | #4

    [[.. Indian investor approached (MoLSA) to issue work permits for a few hundred Indians he allegedly brought into the country as workers on his farms...]]

    [[..With that Karuturi was told to return those people back home...]]

    That shows agreements are enforced per government as the Meles regime was praised in the past by Guardian on Chinese work permits.

    The controversial Karuturi is just being worthy of the MBA he holds from the USA; he is going to put all the effort to creatively finance & develop his huge deal in Ethiopia. No surprise there.

    The question is, can Ethiopian Diaspora stand up for a similar challenge of doing “creating financing” to develop its own land?

    Or are we all going to oppose investing in “woyane land” per Yelma.

    What boggles my mind is, why oppose/condem those Diaspora that can create jobs for the army of unemployed youth? Or build residential houses for a family to live a better life or rent to generate income so that family go to school and eat etc.? :)

    [[..For India and Karuturi, Ethiopia may only appear as mere aid and loan seeker...]]

    India was/is in the same position as Ethiopia & they’ve social issues as we speak; so when you speculate on Indians as being RACISTS it is only fair for you to show some documentation to back your accusations. Otherwise you are character assassinating folks for nothing.

    [[..floating 200,000 shares... how can the agreement allow him to do such things, when he has not developed any part of the land?...]]

    What do you mean by “not developed any part”?

    The same Fortune you quoted said: “The development it has undertaken in Gambella has increased the land that it has developed to 50,000ht, where close to half of this is ready for sowing maize.”

  5. K.Gebremedhin
    | #5

    Dawi, I am responding to the question your raised in the last paragraph of your message. I grant you, the way I formulated it is silly and ambigous. Yes, Mr. Karuturi has been working on the first 100,000 hectares in Gambella. His problem now is the the remaining 200,000 hectares he has not touched yet since he has been short of means to develop.

  6. deriba gothcu
    | #6

    I am begining to smell a dead rat. It is a well known fact he is not short of tricks more often than not without the means to back them up. This guy looks and sounds shady-beware and act before it is too late.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    Shove him before it is too late-He is just a typical swindler, not only was he trying to entice Ethioian banks into borrowing him lots of money but also to linen wash poor Ethiopians-so that now he can’t do it with ‘Indian SYNDICATYE’ he was planing to-Shove him off. He doesn’t have the money or the huge resources required. Get rid of him quick.

  8. kentu
    | #8

    indian farmer he is going to build adililesess hopital becouse all they employees are going withen 3 years kidney filer they are using very dangerouse fertliser in the farm land these kind of fertilaziers are not allowed in wester coutreis but in ethiopia it is ok why becouse we dont have a government

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