MP tells tea farmers to defy board on Sh560m fees

Public Accounts Committee member Gatundu South MP Gabriel Kagombe at Parliament buildings, Nairobi. February 7th,2024 [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

A campaign led by Gatundu South MP Gabriel Kagombe urging tea factories to defy payment of legal fees originating from suits initiated by former factory directors has gained momentum.

In the Mt. Kenya region, farmers have asked their management not to remit any funds to cover the legal suits following a deal brokered by the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) to ensure the directors' elections are held by the end of June.

The projected cost of the lawsuits is around Sh560 million, with factories awaiting final tabulations.

The MP warned the TBK against insisting that factories pay for the lawsuits, arguing that those who lodged the claims in the corridors of justice should be responsible for payment.

“The farmers have resisted the move to pay for the lawsuits initiated by the former directors, who were pursuing their interests after being replaced," said Kagombe.

Kagombe added that he has written to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi about the concerns.

In Kirinyaga County, tea farmers at Mununga Tea Factory have challenged their management against remitting any resources to pay for the suits.

One tea farmer, Nelson Mwaura, stated that the former directors should bear the burden of paying the suits.

“We have warned the directors at Mununga tea factory that no payments should be made to settle the withdrawn suit without our consent,” said Mwaura.

Mununga factory director Nahason Ngari mentioned that the 10,000 tea growers have protested against the decision to pay for the suits. [Boniface Gikandi]

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