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Devki Group of Companies withdraws bid to lease Mumias Sugar

NEWS
By Fredrick Obura | June 4th 2021

Devki Group of Companies has withdrawn bid to lease Mumias Sugar Company, Chairman of the group Narendra Raval said on Friday.

The Group had expressed interest in reviving the miller following an invitation by the receiver manager

“However, given the ongoing public interest which the matter has attracted and the call for a publicly run bidding exercise, we have found it worthwhile to take out our application,” he said adding that the group will express interest should the exercise be conducted in consultation with all stakeholders.

On Thursday, Western Kenya sugarcane farmers and politicians asked the Ministry of Agriculture to stop the proposed takeover of Mumias Sugar Company by a steel manufacturer until due process is followed.

Cyclist transporting a load of dried sugarcane. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The objection to the debt-ridden miller being leased to industrialist Narendra Raval comes a day after ANC Party Leader Moses Mudavadi called for transparency in the deal.

“I am calling on KCB to be transparent and effectively engage farmers and locals who are critical stakeholders in ensuring that the once-leading sugar miller is brought back to glory,” Mr Mudavadi said at his home in Vihiga on Wednesday.

The sugarcane stakeholders are accusing KCB Bank, which placed the factory under receivership, of unilaterally awarding the lease without following due procedure that includes asset valuation and farmers’ debt accountability.

Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane Farmers Organisation Chairman Saulo Busolo also opposed the takeover, saying that a comprehensive selection process that would capture the interest of farmers had not been realised.

“We should not gamble with the critical sector of our economy. If the cane growers are ruined, everything else will tumble down,” he said.

During Wednesday’s proceedings in Parliament, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala termed the takeover unprocedural and sought intervention from the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries on the state of affairs of Mumias Sugar.

“I call on the committee to address the current state of the company’s assets and liabilities and reveal which entity undertook the valuation,” he said.

“Specifically, the committee should address the bidding process including who the bidders were, when the bidding took place, when the evaluation of submitted tenders was done, what criteria was used to pick the successful tenderer,”

His sentiments were backed by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula who demanded that Mumias Sugar Company Receivership Manager and Kenya Commercial Bank must produce an Asset Evaluation Report, Farmer;s Debt Repayment Plan as well as a complete Financial Audit Report from 2016 to date.

“What is the fate of the nucleus land of Mumias which was donated to the government by locals when the factory was setting up? Is the new investor coming to compensate them?” he posed.
Mr Wetang’ula also asked who is going to account for Sh2 billion bailout cash given by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the build-up to the 2017 elections.’’

“We also need to be supplied with a report of the stakeholder consultation, if at all, including the creditors and debtors and clarify who will pay the pending debts owed to farmers and workers,” he said.

The Kenya National Alliance of Sugarcane Farmers Organisation (KNASFO) chairman Saulo Busolo also opposed the Take Overstating that a comprehensive selection process has not been realised that will capture the interest of farmers.

We should not gamble with the critical sector of our economy. If the cane growers are ruined, everything else will tumble down,”

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