Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and former Senator Boni Khalwale have differed on whether action should be taken against those who mismanaged Mumias Sugar Company.
Mr Oparanya said the arrest and prosecution of key suspects who indirectly or directly led to the downfall of the miller will not help in resuscitating the debt-strapped factory.
Dr Khalwale, however, said people who led to the downfall of the company are known and should be prosecuted.
Khalwale said the only way the Jubilee government can help farmers from the region was by reviving the ailing factory.
“We want Mumias Sugar Company to function because it is the lifeline of the economy of the people of Kakamega. The main suspects are known and they have to be prosecuted or compelled to tell us what they did so that the factory can be revived for the benefit of locals,” he said.
But Oparanya said that even if the suspects are arrested, the challenges facing the factory would not end.
“If you arrest the suspects, but the factory remains non-operational, do you think that would be the solution to the ailing factory?” he posed.
He said Sh3.5 billion had been disbursed to the factory by the national government, but the miller is not yet out of the woods. The governor said the factory owes farmers, banks and Kenya Revenue Authorities (KRA) Sh17 billion.
He said that when he was elected governor, he injected Sh200 million into the factory, but Khalwale, who was then the senator, said the money was misappropriated and never used to pay farmers.
The two leaders spoke during a funeral in Lubanga village on Saturday.