COURT BARS MINISTRY FROM LEASING MIWANI SUGAR COMPANY.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

The High court has barred the Ministry of Agriculture and the Kisumu county government from leasing Miwani Sugar Company, pending the determination of a case filed by Crossley Holding ltd.

Justice Boaz Olao barred the ministry and the county government of Kisumu from charging, leasing or dealing with the parcel through an international expression of interests (IEOI) floated on July 10.

Through lawyer James Orengo, the company also sought to bar Kisumu county government from demarcating, zoning or considering the land in question as part of a Special Economic Zone as proposed by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.

“An order of stay does issue prohibiting the leasing of Miwani Sugar Company (1989) Ltd as offered by the 2nd Respondent in the International Expression of Interest (IEOI) advertised on 10th July 2020, pending the hearing and determination of this Application inter-partes,” submitted Orengo.

Orengo, who is also the Saiya Senator said the Crossley Holdings is the registered proprietor of parcel of the expansive land, holds a title after successfully purchasing it for Sh752 million in December 2007 through a public auction.

The predecessor of title to the said land is Miwani Sugar Mills Limited, a private limited company and whose assets and liabilities were purportedly taken over in 1989 by Miwani Sugar Company (1989) Ltd (in receivership).

Orengo argued that on July 10 this year, without any legal basis and justification or any notice or reason given to the company, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Authority placed an advertisement in the local dailies and titled, ‘International Expression of Interest (IEOI) for leasing and operating each of the five (5) state-owned sugar factories in Kenya’.

In the IEOI, the Ministry listed Miwani Sugar Company (1989) Ltd (in receivership) as one of the purportedly state owned sugar factories offered, and sought bids to redevelop the factories into large sugar complexes and also manage them for a leasehold period of 25 years.

Orengo said it was evident that the offer as advertised was unfair, unprocedural and unlawfully.

On July 17, 2020, the company (Crossley Holdings) wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture seeking to strike out Miwani Sugar Company (1989) Ltd, from the list of companies on offer.

In a letter dated August 11, the ministry responded to the petitioner giving its commitment to settling the subject matter out of court but failed to remove the said sugar factory from the list of the factories as demanded.

The bids to the IEOI closed on August 3 and at any time, the highest bidder to Miwani Sugar Company (1989) Ltd. may be announced, Orengo said adding that it will was illegal to place the  land under the proprietorship of another entity.

Further, he argued that Kisumu County Government is in the process of curving out a Special Economic Zone in a land area whose demarcation has unlawfully.

“Unless this Court urgently intervenes and protects the petitioner’s proprietary rights over the land as provided for under the Kenyan land law regime and the Constitution, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents will irregularly and unlawfully acquire the petitioner’s private land and permanently dispossess the petitioner of its proprietary rights over the land.” added Orengo.

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