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Court dismisses State's bid to be enjoined in Tea Act suit

By Correspondent | February 17th 2021

The High Court in Embu has dismissed with costs an application by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to be enjoined in a petition challenging sections of the 2020 Tea Act.

The court said the AFA no longer has a mandate in the management of tea matters.

In a ruling delivered on Monday, High Court Judge Lucy Njuguna said the new Tea Act had conferred tea management mandate to the Tea Board of Kenya, noting that the crop had been delinked from the Crops Act – under which AFA is established.

“The Tea Act 2020 establishes the Tea Board of Kenya. Section five (of the Act) thereof provides for the functions of the Board, and a reading of the said section clearly indicates that all matters to do with regulation of tea industry has been bestowed on the Tea Board. She said the  transitional clauses show all the assets, liabilities and staff initially under the Agriculture and Food Authority were transferred to the board.

“It is my view that from the reading of the Tea Act, it is clear that tea was delinked from the Crops Act and thus the AFA does not have any responsibility in relation to its management.

The court also found the law firm representing AFA, Patricks Law Associates, unqualified to present the authority in court after AFA failed to show the company was legally procured.

This was after the lawyer representing the 51 tea factories, Benson Millimo, challenged the procurement process with which the law firm was acquired to represent AFA in the matter.

The judge said the pleadings by AFA were “defective” after it failed to show it had received the board’s nod to seek to be enjoined in the suit.

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