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KTDA officials summoned by investigators

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has summoned four senior Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to record a statement over the over claims of misappropriation of funds at the agency.

DCI George Kinoti summoned KTDA CEO Lerionka Tiampati to appear at DCI offices on Kiambu Road to answer to allegations that the agency bosses paid Sh200 million to lawyers acting on a complaint from a group of farmers.

The farmers claimed that the amount paid to “unspecified” lawyers was exorbitant and invited the DCI, the Attorney General and Office of the Director of Public Prosecution to probe the matter.

Others summoned are KTDA company secretary John Omanga, finance director Simeon Rugutt and general manager Lincoln Munyao.

In a letter, Kinoti said he had reason to believe they were culpable and ordered to appear at the DCI today at 9am.

Corruption loopholes

In January, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued directives to clean the tea industry and restore profitability and hope to hundreds of thousands of farmers.

The measures are supposed to include reforms in KTDA’s role in brokerage and auctioneering.

President Kenyatta had told stakeholders to seal corruption and embezzlement loopholes.

A couple of months after the president’s directive, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya published the radical regulations on the management of the tea sector.

In the radical reforms, buyers of the green leaf will have to deposit a down payment of 10 per cent with the balance paid before export of the purchased consignment, while individual tea factories will also be allowed to sell their produce at the tea auction.

It directed the automation of the tea auction process so that farmers would be able to know what was going on in the Mombasa tradings and also ordered that factories are required to pay farmers 30 days after receiving the auction proceeds.

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