BY SAM ALFAN.
A farmers cooperative society has accused West Kenya of using some of its former members to block bid for the revival of ailing Mumias Sugar Company.
In the latest petition, Gakwamba Farmers’ Cooperative Society says the rival miller has used the name of the society in a court case to challenge the 20-year lease awarded to Uganda based Sarrai Group.
Through lawyer Danstan Omari, farmers who comprise more than 90 percent of Mumias cane suppliers argue through their chairperson Elisha Huma, that the petition seeking to stop the lease of Mumias Sugar filed by five farmers is an abuse of the court process and should be dismissed with costs.
The five farmers last week obtained orders stopping any operations at the sugar milling plant after they filed a suit challenging the lease on the basis of not being transparent.
The five Lambert Lwanga Ogochi, Augustino Ochacha Saba, Prisca Okwanko Ochacha, Robert Mudinyu Magero and Wycliffe Barasa Ng’onga obtained a temporary order suspending the operations at Mumias for 10 days.
Through lawyer Omari the farmers wants the orders vacated claiming the rival group do not have the right to challenge the bid process in which they were not a party to.
They further said the five are just being used by one of the parties that lost the bid to frustrate the operations of Mumias Sugar Company.
The society has dragged West Kenya Sugar into the lease saga claiming that its purpose was to interfere with the revival of the operations of the Mumias Sugar.
“We are the farmers to Mumias Sugar Company. We don’t know anything about this suit neither do we have any minute passing any resolution to institute any suit,” added farmers.
The society claims it is not in the interest of justice to entertain an application by individuals who did not participate in the bidding process whose sole aim is to frustrate the political and commercial goodwill to turn around a mill to profitability through modernization and efficient management.
Ugandan firm Sarrai Group and Tumaz and Tumaz Enterprises (Tumaz) are embroiled in the lease tussle of Mumias Sugar Company.
Several cases have been filed in court regarding the lease of the Sugar milling plant and in December last year, the court had suspended leases that were issued to Sarrai and Rai Group and stopped them from going on with works at the sugar milling plant.