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Bank evicts ex-Karuturi employees in bid to recover Sh1.8b debt

NEWS
By Antony Gitonga | August 19th 2021

Rundown greenhouse at the once-thriving Karuturi flower farm. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The woes of more than 3,000 former workers of the Naivasha-based Karuturi flower farm deepened after they were served with a two-month notice to leave company’s houses.

The move is meant to pave the way for the sale of the farm’s assets by a local bank to recover more than Sh1.8 billion debt following a ruling by the Supreme Court three weeks ago.

Also on the line of sale is land where a primary and secondary school that the once giant rose producer used to manage sit.

Following the move, the workers who are still waiting for their dues, have called on the government to intervene, saying close to 2,000 students would lose.

The highest court has given Stanbic Bank the go-ahead to sell the assets of the farm to recover a loan the farm owed.

At the height of its operations, the Karuturi flower farm produced more than a million stems of roses daily, making it the largest producer in the region.

According to the workers' representative Moses Maina, some of them had served the flower farm for close to 30 years before it was closed down.

He added that the workers, through their Sacco, were owed more than Sh22 million which they had diligently served for years before it went down.

“The receiver-manager is aware of all these debts but he has kept quiet and instead issued us with a two-month vacate notice,” he said.

This view was supported by Olkaria MCA Peter Pallang’a, who said the former workers were going through untold suffering as they waited for their dues.

He termed the closure of the farm a major blow to the economy of the region and hundreds of workers who were in the dark over their dues.

Pallang’a wondered what would happen to the hundreds of students in Sher Moi primary and secondary schools who had even registered for national exams. 

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