Creditor wants Sarrai managers punished over continued operations at Mumias

Entrance gate at Mumias sugar company. FILE PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NMG

A creditor has asked the High Court to punish Sarrai Group directors over continued operations at Mumias Sugar Company despite orders to cease activities at the miller.

Ms Jackline Kimeto, one of the creditors of the fallen giant miller says Sarrai Group and its officials have continued with operations at the company even after the court cancelled the lease.

Ms Kimeto told Justice Wilfrida Okwany that the officials of the Uganda-based company and its lawyer should be punished because of defying a court order issued in July directing Sarrai to stop any operations at Mumias Sugar.

She also said there have been no efforts to recover some of the assets of the miller that were allegedly carted before the lease was cancelled.

“That I am aware that to this day I am swearing this supplementary affidavit, the contemnors are still defying the orders of the court in operating the machinery of the 3rd respondent (Mumias Sugar),” she said.

It was her argument that Sarrai misinterpreted a ‘stay order’ obtained from the Court of Appeal to mean the lease, which was cancelled by the High Court had been reinstated.

The court will rule on December 15 whether the directors and managers of Sarrai are in contempt of court.

Justice Okwany had on July 28 ordered Sarrai to cease all activities including the operation of machinery.

Rival company West Kenya and Vartox Resources Inc had also complained that Sarrai was taking advantage of the court order to vandalise the once giant miller.

“It has come to the applicant’s knowledge that the 4th respondent company (Sarrai) is currently dismantling and vandalising machinery and striping away Mumias’ assets from the premises in a clear exercise aimed at cannibalising its assets,” she said.

Sarrai through lawyer Wesley Gichaba denied claims of vandalism or disobeying the court order. He said it was in public interest for the company to kick-start operations because Sarrai had employed hundreds of people.

He said that some machinery belonging to the company was taken to Kisumu for repairs and before leaving the premises, guards at the gate sign them out. The equipment has since been returned, the court heard.

High Court judge Alfred Mabeya canceled the 20-year-lease awarded to Sarrai Group in April and replaced PVR Rao with Kereto Marima.

The Uganda-based company went back to court and obtained temporary orders, suspending the decision. KCB Group also obtained a temporary order ‘staying’ the judgment.

The miller was placed under receivership by KCB Group in 2019 over mounting debts.

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