Ramakrishna Karuturi

Founder and Managing Director at Karuturi Networks Limited

Location:
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Company:
Karuturi Networks Limited
Wrong Ramakrishna Karuturi?

Last Updated 4/13/2014

General Information

Employment History

Gambella

Education

Gitam Institute of Foreign Trade

Bachelor's degree  - Computer Engineering , 

Bachelors' degree  - Mechanical Engineering , Bangalore University

MBA  - Case Western Reserve University

MD of Karuturi Networks  - 

business degree  - Bangalore University

Affiliations

Honorary Counsel of Ethiopia  - Bangalore

Web References  

karuturi.com - Board of Directors

Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi
Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi Managing Director Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi is the Founder and Managing Director of Karuturi Global Ltd. Under his dynamic leadership, Karuturi Global has become the world's largest producer of cut-roses by identifying Kenya & Ethiopia as a hub for cultivation and export of roses. Mr. Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi holds a Bachelors’ degree (Rank Holder) in Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore University and an MBA (Dean’s Honor) from Case Western Reserve University, Ohio. Ms. Karuturi has been involved in managing the company since its inception. She aids Mr. Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi in realising Karuturi Global's overseas expansion plans. Ms. Karuturi holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering.

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Bye, Bye Karuturistan, Ethiopia!

Karuturi, an Indian agribusiness, is touted to be "the world's largest producer and exporter of cut roses with operations spread across Ethiopia, Kenya and India.
In 2008, Karuturi "leased" 300,000 hectares in the western Ethiopia region of Gambella. The "lease" was ballyhooed as the stepping stone to Karuturi's rise to become one of the world's largest food producers. The Karuturi rose ultimately proved to be the titan arum (corpse flower) of Gambella. When the Guardian newspaper did its eye opening report in 2011, it claimed Gambella is about the size of Wales (the land of the mythical King Arthur and his kingdom of Camelot) in the west of England. If Karuturi is going to OWN so much of Gambella for the next 99 years, I figured, in the interest of factual accuracy and to make official the change of ownership of the land, Gambella should be renamed "Karuturistan". Karuturi sealed its deal with the ruling Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (T-TPLF), which touted the Karuturi deal as an example of the wholesome foreign investment being made in Ethiopia. By 2011, the late T-TPLF leader, Meles Zenawi, was bloviating about how he had found the magic bullet to make Ethiopia food secure. Meles' secret weapon against the Black Horseman of the Apocalypse spreading famine across the land for decades was Karuturi. Meles boldly bragged "within five years Ethiopia will no longer need food aid." Shortly after Meles rose to his "throne" in 1991, he declared he would consider his government a success if Ethiopians were able to eat three meals a day. The "Congressional Budget Justification Foreign Operations Appendix 2 forFiscal Year 2015" reports, "Ethiopia is among the poorest countries in the world, with an annual per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $471 andit remains one of the top recipients of U.S. food and emergency assistance to respond to chronic food insecurity and under-nutrition. So much for "not needing food aid"! There are too many unanswered questions about the 300 thousand hectare "lease" (it was literally a gift) to Karuturi. Frankly, my initial puzzlement over the Karuturi "lease" was whether the sly, cunning and cagey T-TPLF operators had hoodwinked Karuturi into "investing" in Gambella? Or could it be simple greed that blinded Karuturi into getting in the Gambella boondogle? Nonetheless, with regards to what is known and unknown about land "leases" in Ethiopia including Karuturi's, Dessalegn Rahmato, an Ethiopian scholar, raised a number of very important issues in his 2011 article "LAND TO INVESTORS: Large-Scale Land Transfers in Ethiopia. However, thecircumstantial evidence garnered from various analyses and studies paint an incredible picture of apparent naivite, wishful thinking, greed, gullibility and manipulation on the part of Karuturi. When Karturi got its "leasehold" in Gambella in 2008, it was as though it had been served Manna (divine food) from Heaven on a golden plate. Karmjeet Sekhon, Karuturi's head in Ethiopia explained, "We never saw the land. Sekhon's euphoria confirms the fact that the T-TPLF delivered the crown jewels of the most fertile land in Ethiopia to Karuturi for "very cheap" and let Karuturi do whatever it wanted with the land. What is the logical thing one would do with a big winning lotto ticket in hand?! There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that Karuturi undertook some due diligence work after it was "given the land without seeing it. (For my readers who may not be familiar, "due diligence" is a process by which a purchaser, lessor or prospective investor would undertake reasonable inquiry into the commercial potential of a business venture as part of a comprehensive appraisal of assets, liabilities, etc,.) By late 2009, Karuturi began infrastructure improvements on its "leasehold" (gift) in Gambella. To guard against catastrophic floods from the Baro River (known to the indigenous Anuak as Upeno River) with its tributaries, the Alwero and Jikawo Rivers, Karuturi built dykes (to block the natural flow of the water) and undertook other construction activities. Karuturi's business strategy from the beginning was to skate on the thrifty side of things. It calculated it could import cheap agricultural equipment from India, but soon determined the Indian equipment was inappropriate for large scale commercial farming. In 2010, Karuturi placed orders with John Deere, the American multinational agricultural equipment manufacturer. Karuturi apparently had not planned carefully enough in its due diligence for its skilled labor needs. It became clear to the company by late 2009 that getting skilled personnel to manage the Gambella project in a remote area with few modern amenities would prove to be exceedingly difficult. To complicate matters, the technical help it imported from India did not have much experience managing large commercial agricultural enterprises. These planning blunders soon became evident in increased costs, schedule delays, cost overruns and loss of revenue. There were also problems training the unskilled labor from the local area in modern agricultural techniques. The problems were piling up for Karuturi. By October 2011, Karuturi learned its first lesson best expressed in the verse of Alexander Pope: " For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread./ Distrustful Sense with modest Caution speaks;.../". Karuturi faced the "thundering Tyde" of the Baro (Upeno) River and its tributaries which overflowed their banks and submerged Karuturi's 80km long system of protective dikes. In a flash, Karuturi saw its corn harvest of 50 thousand metric tons flushed down river without a paddle. Karuturi CEO Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi announced his company took a $15 million "hit" from the floods. He was dumbfounded by the intensity of the calamity: "This kind of flooding we haven't seen before. This is a crazy amount of water. Who "crazy"!? The Baro River or Karuturi? Had Karuturi come down from his high horse and talked to the local people, he would have found out that most of the land he wanted to develop was in a flood plain. That is why the local people use it mostly for grazing and hunting. So much for Karuturi's due diligence. The 2011 floods were a bad omen for Karuturi in Gambella. By April 2013, Karuturi was convicted of tax evasion in Kenya in the amount of USD$11 million. Devlin Kuyek of GRAIN, a non-profit organization that supports small farmers observed, "Not only are they fiscal cheats, but Karuturi has been accused of human rights abuses, poor labour practices, threats to the environment and so on... Even the World Bank Group did not grant Karuturi the political risk insurance it requested for its Ethiopian operations." Karuturi was under investigation "for criminal activities" by local Gambella authorities. The land development plan and Karuturi's farming practices were having visibly devastating environmental and demographic impact on the local flora and fauna. Thousands of displaced villagers were complaining bitterly about loss of crops and grazing lands. According to studies by theInternational Land Coalition, Karuturi paid "Ethiopian farm labourers at its Bako (its other plantation to the northeast of Gambella) farm ETB 10 per day (US$ 0.50) which compares with about ETB 20 per day (US$ 1.00) for labourers on commercial sesame farms in the country. Night guards for the company are said to be paid ETB 300 per month (US$ 15) if they own a gun and ETB 200 (US$ 10) per month if they do not. Karuturi had also imported several hundred farm laborers from India to work which proved to be flashpoint. Karuturi denied all allegations of abuse and misconduct in its Gambella project. It denied any connection between his company's activities and the T-TPLF's villagisation program. He characterized the accusations as "hogwash" and "a completely jaundiced western vision". By January 2015, Karuturi had apparently gone belly up. The T-TPLF Director of Agricultural Investment and Land Administration Agency, Abera Mulat, was quoted by The Reporter as saying, "Karuturi has gone bankrupt following internal management crisis. Karuturi is known for borrowing from CBE, Dashen and Zemen banks. The loan extended to the company exceeds 170 million birr (in monopoly money) and the CEO said that his company is set to settle the debts by the end of this month." The T-TPLF Land Con Game The T-TPLF land "lease" (gift) to Karuturi reminds me of the land scams of the 1960s and 70s in the U.S., particularly in the State Florida. I am still not sure if Karuturi was a (willing) victim of a Florida-type land scam. It is unimaginable to me how any company would invest so many millions of dollars in an area known to all to be a floodplain. Didn't Karuturi complete an environmental (including impact) study? Didn't it talk to the local elders and people? Maybe it did and arrogantly forged ahead full speed, damn the torpedoes. If it had done so, it would have certainly found out that the land designated for the Karuturi project has always been used for grazing and hunting, and not so much for farming, precisely because of seasonal flooding problems. How could Karuturi possibly believe its little mickey mouse dykes, irrigation drains and ditches could could possiblycontain the fury of the mighty Baro (Upeno) River and its tributaries? In my October 2011 commentary, "Karuturistan, Ethiopia: The Fire Next Time?", I echoed the bitter complaints of the people of Gambella that, despite millions of dollars in investments by Karuturi (and the odious World Bank), they have seen few jobs, schools, clinics or clean water facilities for their use. I argued that at the end of the day, the people of Gambella will be the ones suffering the long-term effects of deforestation (land clearance by burning), reduction of ecological diversity, loss of local species, and environmental contamination caused by herbicides and pesticides used in large-scale commercial farming. I made a specific recommendation to Karuturi in my commentary. Dump the current land acquisition and ownership deal and replace it with contract farming and deal directly with the farmers of Gambella. Provide training to farmers in Gambella and enhance their expertise to make them more productive. By doing so, Karuturi could supply grains and other agricultural commodities for the Ethiopian market profitably and over the long term maintain a sustainable and ecologically balanced agricultural venture. Karuturi could have made Gambella the archetype of responsible, prudent and profitable investment in Africa. In concluding my commentary, I warned Karuturi by invoking a prophesy told in the lyrics of a song of African slaves toiling on vast cotton and tobacco plantations in the southern states of America. "God gave Noah the rainbow sign: No more water. The fire next time!" In 2015, Karuturi has nothing to show for its "investment" except 170 million birr debt, if the T-TPLF alleged claim is credible. Where are the tens of thousands of hectares of oil palm, sugar cane, rice, edible oils and maize and cotton promised by Karuturi? Where are the 60 thousand workers? They exist only in the warped imaginations of the T-TPLF leaders. God gave Karuturi a rainbow sign over the Baro (Upeno) River in October 2011. Karuturi did not heed the sign.

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The Wrath of Karuturi and the "Power of India" in Ethiopia

Sai Ramakrishina Karuturi, founder and managing director of Karuturi Global Ltd, the self-proclaimed "rose king of the world" and "lion of Gambella" crowed, "I have invented and discovered commercial farming in Ethiopia... Commercial farming by foreign investors has never been thought of as a potential venture.
Karuturi was the first to do." Whoa! Karuturi is just blowing smoke or he has not done his due diligence. So neither the T-TPLF nor Karuturi has nothin' on H.I.M. Haile Selassie when it comes to commercial agriculture. I just want Ethiopia's young people to know an indisputable fact in their history. In a much ballyhooed "Land Rent Agreement" [Land Rent Contractual Agreement Made Between Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Karuturi Agro Products Plc], the T-TPLF handed over to Karuturi a "100,000 hectares" on "long term land lease" with a contingency for another 200,000. Or did it? It is now a highly disputed legal question what the T-TPLF and Karuturi did in their dealings over land in Gambella. Karuturi implicitly challenges not only the validity of his "agreement" with the T-TPLF but also the very nature of the legal instrument defining their dealings. Karuturi says he has a "lease" with the T-TPLF. The T-TPLF document says Karuturi has a "land rent" agreement. The plot thickens. According to Karuturi, there are two different "leases": one, "the mother document" with the "Gambella government" purportedly granting him 300 thousand hectares and another "agreement which says I will receive 100 thousand hectares to cultivate and 200 thousand more I can get if I want and if I can finish cultivating the 100 thousand. Karuturi says the "mother document is the Gambella agreement", not the "copy from the then Ministry of Agriculture" (the "land rent agreement" referenced above). The state owns all land in Ethiopia. (But who own the state? I mean who is the land lord of all the land in Ethiopia. Does it mean that whoever owns the state in Ethiopia owns Ethiopia?) In the current dispute, the state controlled by the T-TPLF and the regional state of Gambella which simultaneously claims ownership of the land are both claiming to have properly granted the same land to Karuturi. Which land "agreement" is valid constitutionally and contractually? If what Karuturi got is a "land rent" from the T-TPLF, then the T-TPLF would be the land lord?If Karuturi has a "lease", as he claims from the Gambella regional government, then the privity (legal relation) will one of lessor and lessee with completely different set of obligations, privileges and immunities. Whether the "agreement" is ultimately characterized as a "lease" or "land rent" before an impartial tribunal (arbitration) will be one of the decisive factors in the disposition of the dispute between Karuturi and the T-TPLF. Under the so-called ethnic federalism scheme (I did not say scam), does the "federal government" or the "regional governments" have precedence in the disposition of land in the regional jurisdictions? Karuturi further claims, "When the agreement was drafted I pleaded with them not to put 300 thousand [hectares] but they forced and put the amount stated." He also says he wanted only 10 thousand hectares not 300 thousand. Did Karuturi sign the "land rent agreement" or some other "lease" under duress? Close scrutiny of the T-TPLF-Karuturi "land rent" or "lease" agreements shows a fuzzy, tangled and convoluted legal relationship. The T-TPLF cancelled its "agreement" with Karuturi because Karuturi has allegedly "developed" only 1,200 hectares, far below expectations. Reda daftly defended the "cancellation" and taunted Karuturi, "If he thinks he has a legal option, let him try it. (It is not clear if Reda was taunting Karuturi to try his "legal option" in T-TPLF kangaroo [monkey] court. When asked how long it will take him to develop the land, Karuturi flipped the question on the T-TPLF. There are no benchmarks or metrics in the 9-page boilerplate "land rent agreement" to apply and demonstrate non-performance on the part of Karuturi. There is no textual basis in the "land rent agreement" to determine whether Karuturi met or failed to meet his performance obligations. Reda's claim of "prolonged extensions" as a basis for total breach is legally meaningless within the boilerplate language of the "land rent agreement". When the T-TPLF notified Karuturi that his project had been cancelled, a defiant Karuturi said, "I don't recognize this cancellation. 'The termination amounts to expropriation, which the bilateral investment treaty says must be accompanied by market-value compensation." Karuturi does not have any problems with Ethiopia or its people. He publicly proclaims his love for Ethiopia. Back in 2012, Karuturi told The Telegraph, "When it's high tide you've got to sail and when the tide is low, you've got to make sure that you don't get sandbagged." Was Karuturi actually stonewalled, fleeced, gypped, taken for a ride and the cleaners, chiseled and flimflammed by the masters of flimflam? In 2016, Karuturi found out that not only has he been sandbagged in low tide, he was indeed left high and dry and twisting in the wind in his Gambella Gambit. I told you so, Karuturi, "The hand that gaveth the free land is the hand that taketh away..." I knew Karuturi would be taken for a ride and then to the cleaners even before the ink had dried on his "lease" (that is what he calls it) with the T-TPLF (?) or Gambella government (?). It is really too bad Karuturi figured it all out at the very end. In his interview Karuturi said, "In Africa, if you fail you are finished. If you fall, the vultures come and wait for you to die and then eat you well." Well, Karuturi should have seen the T-TPLF vultures swooping in on him when they offered him 100 hundred thousand acres sight unseen. It was like the old land scams of the 1960s and 70s in the U.S. state of Florida. Unless Karuturi is extremely visually challenged, he could have seen he was dealing not with doves but vultures. Isn't it a little late now for Karuturi to complain about buzzards picking his bones clean? Of course, I "knewed" it. I just "knewed" it from day 1 what Karuturi's trip in the underworld was going to be like. I knew exactly how the Karuturi project was going to go down. In my March 2011 commentary, "Ethiopia: Country for Sale", I told Karuturi to "beware of those bearing free gifts", that is free land. I told Karuturi he has "no idea how cunning, shrewd, tricky, wily and crafty the free land-givers are. I told him don't do it or you will regret it! I told him, those who have given you "free land understand the power of greed in the hearts and minds of the greedy." In helpless resignation, I wistfully cautioned Karuturi not to fall for the T-TPLF scam: Karuturi is free to indulge in the proverbial fantasy about a free lunch, free money and free land. Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as free land. After Karuturi spends millions to clear the forest, bring in expensive agricultural equipment, build infrastructure and get the farms humming, it will find out "that's not all". [Karuturi] will wake up one fine Gambella morning and find out that the free land his company got without asking ain't free after all. Karuturi will find out that it has failed to get this or that permit, or is in violation of this or that part of the 50-year lease. It did not build this school or that clinic, and the ones it built are not big enough or good enough. It will find out that it did not build this road or that town center the right way, and the ones it built are inadequate and more need to be built. Karuturi will suddenly find out that foreign investment law that gave them millions of hectares of free land has been reinterpreted to mean whatever the free land-givers want it to mean... , In the end, [Karuturi will find out] 'The hand that gaveth the free land is the hand that taketh away the fine, well-developed farmland!'... In the end, all of the investors [in Ethiopia] will lose. In the end, the free land-givers will have it all. Over the decades, we have seen free-land-for-nothing type of scams from Angola to Zimbabwe. Karuturi admitted in his recent interview that friends had advised him not to do it for other reasons. A lesson learned too late by Karuturi. It is arguable whether Karuturi is having "buyer's remorse" now that the "vultures" are swooping in as his project "waits to die". What was Karuturi thinking when he signed the deal with the T-TPLF? (That is a trick question. He wasn't.) Perhaps the "world king of roses" was wearing rose-colored glasses when he signed the deal with the T-TPLF. Did Karuturi really believe the T-TPLF would uphold their end of the bargain? If he believed the late Meles and his T-TPLF will let him win in Gambella, he is a damn fool. Karuturi ignored the old maxim "caveat emptor" (buyer beware) at his own peril. Did Karuturi and Meles set their deal in motion in anticipation of outwitting each other in the end? Karuturi recalled the fateful day he was snagged into the deal. The unnamed "great leader" (Karuturi did not say it was Kim Jong-il) asked Karuturi Karuturi says, "The government didn't provide a final map of the concession, effectively blocked $180-million of financing by enacting a cereal-export ban, and prevented diesel from reaching the Gambella region near the border of war-torn South Sudan in 2014 on national security grounds. I have read and examined the "legal documents" in the project and public statements made by Karuturi and T-TPLF officials. I have also examined official documents and publications by the loaners and donors on the impact of the Karuturi project in Gambella along with diverse independent studies, analyses and commentaries by the international media and human rights organizations. My conclusion is that Karuturi was not set to fail. He was doomed to fail. The T-TPLF in my view had two strategies for their end game in the Karuturi deal: 1) Karuturi succeeds in developing the land and in creating a massive commercial agricultural enterprise and they would find a way to expropriate it all and distribute it among their families, cronies, friends and supporters; 2) Karuturi fails and they would seize all of his equipment and investments and kick him out cold. In both cases, the T-TPLF wins! Karuturi knows it is now dinner time for the T-TPLF vultures! Of course, there is nothing new in what the T-TPLF did to Karuturi. He should not feel he is a special victim. They have been doing variations of the-invest-and-rip-off scam for the past 24 years. If Karuturi had done his due diligence before he signed up, he would learned a lot. But he did not. How ironic that back in March 2011, Karuturi project manager in Ethiopia Karmjeet Sekhon laughed euphorically as he explained how they got the land in Gambella: Indeed, if Karuturi had done his due diligence before he signed up, he would have learned that many thousands of Diaspora Ethiopians had returned to Ethiopia to invest, asked by the T-TPLF to submit their business plans, waited for months to get approval only to find out suddenly some T-TPLF crony had launched exactly the business for which they had submitted in their plans? If Karuturi had done his due diligence before he signed up, he would have learned about the scores of Diasporan investors who were driven out of their successful businesses after being hit with a big tax bill and had their business auctioned off to T-TPLF cronies and supporters. If Karuturi had done his due diligence before he signed up, he would have learned of the hundreds of legitimate business people in Ethiopia whose businesses have been muscled into by T-TPLF leaders or their family members, cronies and friends and forced to take them on as silent or not-so-silent partners. If Karuturi had done his due diligence before he signed up, he would have known of so many legitimate businessmen in and out of Ethiopia who are forced to front businesses for the T-TPLF and their cronies and conceal the true identity of the true T-TPLF owners. In 2011 Global Financial integrity reported, "Ethiopia lost $11.7 billion to outflows of ill-gotten gains between 2000 and 2009. Ever wonder who has that kind of money and how it was illicitly "flown" out of the country? All the T-TPLF did with Karuturi is up their game to the international level. I am sure there will be some who will accuse me of cynicism, siding with Karuturi, hating on the T-TPLF, blah, blah... All I can say is, it is what it is! Karuturi, the self-proclaimed "lion of Gambella" defiantly declares he will vindicate his rights. He says the T-TPLF cancellation "amounts to expropriation, which the bilateral investment treaty says must be accompanied by market-value compensation." Karuturi goes even further in his defiance. For "a half-Ethiopian", Karuturi pulls no punches. Karuturi says, "I am the lion who went to Gambella. Wounded maybe, but I am still a lion. I am not bragging or boasting." Whatever I think of Karuturi the businessman, I think Karuturi the man is a man of guts, raw guts. For Karuturi to get in the faces of the T-TPLF thugs and tell them they are not going to thug him out his land takes big balls. Respect, Mr. Karuturi! You will no doubt lose your money to thugs, but I like the way you stand up for your rights. "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead." I don't know if it is bravado when Karuturi says he will continue to fight for his property and lease rights. Karuturi says he is prepared to invoke "the bilateral investment protection agreement between India and Ethiopia" to "protect" himself from "some jokers. He did not mince words when he said, "This is a threat because enough is enough. I don't have to defend myself. I challenge [any official] to touch my land. (Hot diggity dog! Karuturi has got balls.) The standard dispute resolution mechanisms in all of India's bilateral investment protection agreements provide for resolution sequentially: 1) negotiation, 2) if disputes are not settled within six months, submission of dispute to "an arbitral tribunal; 3) if the parties cannot agree on arbitrators the "President of the International Court of Justice make the necessary appointments. The arbitral tribunal is empowered to "determine its own procedure." Karuturi suggests he is going to seek resolution of his dispute with the T-TPLF in arbitration. (Do the T-TPLF thugs know what arbitration or the legal and political significance of a bilateral investment protection agreement?) Here are just a few simple, obvious and threshold issues that cast grave doubt on the "agreement(s)" between Karuturi and T-TPLF/Gambella regional government. First, how many agreements exist pertaining to the Gambella project? Karuturi says there is one agreement with 300 thousand acres which he was coerced to sign with the Gambella regional government and another with the T-TPLF referenced above. Karuturi says he signed a "long-term lease". Fourth, the "land rent agreement" is completely unclear and in various parts manifestly ambiguous with respect to the intention of the parties. From Karuturi's interview statement, he intended to enter into a "lease" with the Gambella regional government reserving substantial rights and privileges. Sixth, was there mutual mistake in the drafting and signing of the "agreement, e.g. the T-TPLF thought they were entering into a "rental land agreement" while Karuturi believed he was entering into a "lease agreement"? Is an agreement entered into in mutual mistake enforceable? Seventh, was there a material misunderstanding between the parties on a core element of the agreement, e.g. Karuturi believed disputes will ultimately be resolved in arbitration and the T-TPLF believes local courts exclusive jurisdiction? Eight, if there is a conflict of laws (what law should be applied to the case at hand), as it is very likely to occur, who and how will it be resolved? Ninth, if the T-TPLF refuses to submit to arbitration per the bilateral agreement (as I expect it would be claiming some sort of sovereign immunity [legal claim a state cannot be sued in civil court]), could Karuturi obtain a default judgement? (If the T-TPLF refuses to submit to arbitration pursuant to the bilateral agreement, they might as well kiss any possible future foreign investment in Ethiopia good bye because there is not an investor in the world who is going to invest in a country that does not live up to its arbitration agreement and agree to submit all contractual disputes for final determination only to local courts. [I did not say local kangaroo (monkey) courts.]) Karuturi says there is hell to pay for messing with him. Given the foregoing data, I don't think Karuturi is bluffing when he says, "Touch me and you will find out the power of India." Karuturi stuck between "vultures" and "jokers"? I find it interesting that Karuturi should characterize the T-TPLF as "vultures" and "jokers". That reminded me of the lyrics of the old song, "Stuck in the Middle With You": "Well I don't know why I came here tonight,/ I got the feeling that something ain't right,/ Clowns to the left of me,/ Jokers to the right, here I am,/ Stuck in the middle with you. I imagine Karuturi is now wondering why he came to Ethiopia in the first place. He feels and knows there is something that ain't right in the deal he made with his T-TPLF partners. Alas! He now finds himself stuck in the middle of T-TPLF jokers and clowns, and they are laughing at him. (I did not say like laughing hyenas.) The only thing that can "save" Karuturi is the "power of India". I am not even sure what that means; but I am guessing it means the Government of India will take retaliatory measures against the T-TPLF for ripping off Karuturi. I don't think the T-TPLF leaders care. They are playing out their own end games as a groundswell of popular unrest spreads throughout the country. Making a deal with the devil and losing Like I said, I don't think Karuturi was set to fail. I believe he was doomed to fail when he made his deal with the T-TPLF. That's what happens when you make a deal with the dEvil. You lose every time. Put another way, Karuturi played the house in Las Vegas and lost. The deck was stacked against him from day 1. Karuturi exchanged his soul for all the land in Gambella. He got the land. Now he must turn over his soul, all of the hard work he did for 10 long years, to the T-TPLF. Could he be saved by the "power of India"? Karuturi must now face (listen to) the music. The T-TPLF "vultures" will pick his pocket for every dime he's got and don't got. Will he walk out of T-TPLF Ethiopia empty handed? Will the "wounded lion of Gambella" end up on the dinner plate of hyenas. (Excuse me, I meant "vultures".) That remains to be seen. Karuturi must think life just ain't fair, is it? Perhaps it is best to ask this question of the tens of thousands of people in Gambella who were displaced and "villagized" to make way for the Karuturi project. I do not think Karuturi is a bad man. But I can't imagine how the "rose king of the world" could fall for such an obvious scam. At one point in the interview, Karuturi says, "I must have been stupid. A lesson learned too late by Karuturi. Karuturi had issues in his investments as anyone with such a large commercial venture would have particularly in Africa. I don't believe Karuturi is a con man. But I believe he has been conned into accepting hundreds of thousands of hectares of land he did not want and could not be reasonably expected to develop in just 5 or 6 years. Karuturi is a businessman and like all businessmen all he wants to make is profit. I don't blame him for that. Yeah, yeah... he wants to feed the starving people of Ethiopia and all that. But after all is said and done, it is undeniable Karuturi spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money to make the Gambella project work. He did not take the project to lose millions of dollars. But it is equally undeniable that he came to Ethiopia first and foremost to make a profit. I have no reason to believe that Karuturi is faking it when he says, "I love Ethiopia" he does not mean it. Or he is saying it to ingratiate himself with the people. I think Karuturi says what he means and means what he says. I don't even care if he said it to be politically correct. As I have noted in previous commentaries, Karuturi would have had a much easier time if he had talked to the people of Gambella in developing his project, listened to what they have to say and made good faith efforts to address their concerns and needs and meet them half way. I have no doubts whatsoever Karuturi would have succeeded if he had worked with the people (not the thieving T-TPLF clones) of Gambella. But he underestimated and ignored the people of Gambella and put his faith in the T-TPLF. Now he finds himself in a jam. Karuturi was a daredevil when he decided to deal with the T-TPLF. Now he has learned that if you dare the devil, if you play dice with the devil, you lose every time! Karuturi may take solace in the wisdom of the angels in Act V of "Faust": "He who strives on and lives to strive/ Can earn redemption still." Karuturi may not get divine redemption for his 10 years of sweat in Gambella, but he may find redemption through the "power of India". Talking about tears, I hope he will now feel sympathy for the thousands of people in Gambella who were displaced and impoverished by his project. I hope he will not leave them high and dry (no pun intended) on the flood plains of Gambella, though he may not have a choice in the matter at this late stage in the game. Fuast ultimately survived and thrived after he lost his deal with Mephistopheles. Karuturi may have spent 10 years to develop his commercial farm in Gambella and will likely lose tens of millions of dollars of his investment. If Karuturi believes he has done what he has done "without selfish attachments" and out of love of the Ethiopian people, he would have lost millions but would stand to gain the ultimate prize. He would have found his karma in his dharma. Karuturi says the T-TPLF has chased out every foreign investor from the country. "The Ethiopian government has given some three or four million hectares but today except for Karuturi and Saudi Star you can't show me the third foreign company in commercial agriculture here. All have left and run away. Do you want me to run away too? (Karuturi doesn't have to worry about running away. The T-TPLF will stampede him out of town!) Karuturi is saying, "All investors in Ethiopia! Beware!" In a profoundly poignant observation, Karuturi said any international investor who fails in Africa will be dinner for vultures. Karuturi submits himself as Exhibit A in Ethiopia. Karuturi's message to anyone seeking to invest in Ethiopia with the T-TPLF is chillingly frightening. He says, only investors who can guarantee 100 percent success need invest or they are doomed to become carrion for "vultures" that can't "wait for [them] to die and then eat [them] well." In any case, if the T-TPLF does not treat Karuturi with soft gloves and part with him amicably, they should be assured that he will prove to be one formidable legal adversary and their worst nightmare in their eternal quest to scam other international investors. "In Africa, if you fail you are finished. If you fall, the vultures come and wait for you to die and then eat you well. Sai Ramakrishina Karuturi, founder and managing director of Karuturi Global Ltd., describing his failed venture in Ethiopia."

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