Uhuru calls for seizure of Mumias looters’ assets

President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) presents a Sh1 billion bailout cheque to the management of Mumias sugar and leaders of Western Kenya on June 24, 2015. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE

What you need to know:

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta wants Mumias looters’ assets sold and the money remitted to the ailing miller.

President Uhuru Kenyatta wants assets belonging to former employees of Mumias Sugar accused of looting the company sold and the money remitted to the ailing sugar miller.

While presenting a Sh1 billion bailout package to the management on Wednesday, Mr Uhuru urged the anti-graft watchdog and the director of public prosecutions office to urgently investigate the misappropriation of funds, which has left Mumias in financial distress.

“We will follow up on those who looted Mumias Sugar Company and ensure they return everything they stole, even if it means selling their houses to recover funds to benefit people of Kakamega,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The President said people who have been given the mandate to investigate corruption should do their jobs, noting that they are liable for graft cases that go unpunished.

“Fighting corruption is the responsibility of EACC and those involved should be held accountable for failure to do their job,” he said.

“The anti-corruption commission should do what it is supposed to do, if it can’t it should be disbanded. The (prosecutor’s) office is independent, I did not nominate or choose him and he should as well play his role.”

Top managers of Mumias were suspended last year after being implicated in the misappropriation of funds by an audit report.

The miller is indebted to the tune of Sh6.5 billion. The Sh1 billion is part of the Sh5 billion that the factory requires to return to relative financial health.

Mr Uhuru directed that the funds go towards clearing farmers’ debts, saying the firm’s management must show a clear plan of rehabilitating the factory back to profitability.

“The first person to be paid must be the farmer, before the company settles other expenses. Without the cane farmers you do not have a factory,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The head of State noted that the government will monitor closely how the money will be used with the view to ensuring that public funds are put to the right use.

He gave a stern warning to the leadership of the factory saying that they will be fired if they fail to turn around the fortunes of the once vibrant miller.

“Before we give any more money to the Mumias Sugar Company, the management must prove that they are capable of paying farmers for their cane deliveries and the company is making profit,” said the president.

Deputy President William Ruto said the government would increase the amount of subsidised fertiliser meant for sugarcane farmers.

“Farmers will no longer buy the fertiliser at Sh4,000 as they used to, we are making it available to them at Sh1,800 per 50 kilogramme bag,” said Mr Ruto.

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