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Mumias Sugar receiver manager risks jail term for ignoring summonses

By Nathan Ochunge | September 27th 2021


Mumias Sugar Company receiver-manager, Ponangipalli Venkata Ramana Rao (with half jacket) during a press conference at the company's boardroom on March 4, 2020. [Nathan Ochunge, Standard]

Mumias Sugar Company receiver-manager Ponangipalli Venkata Ramana Rao risks imprisonment for six months or being fined Sh500,000 for ignoring Senate summonses. Rao has failed to honour at least three summonses by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries over the leasing of the sugar firm.

He is expected to appear before the committee today, failure to which the Senate team will recommend his arrest and prosecution. “You failed to honour the invitations to appear before the committee on August 6 and 20, and September 20 this year. The Senate has powers to summon any individual to appear before it to give evidence or information,” read a letter from the Senate.

Before today’s meeting, Rao is supposed to have furnished the committee with the resolutions agreed upon over the leasing process of the miller and any court order barring him from implementing the resolutions.

But Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has faulted the Senate for summoning the receiver-manager. “Mumias sugar is a private company and now under receivership. The Senators have fixed interests in the issues surrounding Mumias Sugar Company,” said Oparanya.

He told the senators to familiarise themselves with the Insolvency Act of companies and stop blocking the leasing of the sugar factory. “This is happening at the expense of cane farmers languishing in poverty,” said Oparanya.

In a report by the receiver-manager dated June 4, Rao said Mumias Sugar had an asset base of Sh15.7 billion and Sh30.1 billion liabilities. The net assets/owners’ equity stood at negative Sh14.4 billion.

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