Economy

Ex-Moi aides reject new Kenya Seed board members

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The Kenya Seed Company Eldoret depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Ownership of Kenya Seed Company is contested with the private shareholders claiming a 60 per cent stake while the government reckons the firm is a parastatal.

Confidants of former President Daniel arap Moi and private shareholders of Kenya Seed Company have rejected the new board of directors appointed by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, terming the process unconstitutional.

The shareholders will now move to court to challenge the appointments after they were kicked out in the annual general meeting charged by Mr Stanley Kamau, who was seconded from the National Treasury to oversee the polls.

While opposing the election of the new board, the shareholders led by Nathaniel Tum, argued that they were continuing directors of the firm and should have maintained the positions instead of being subjected to elections which resulted in them being unfairly kicked out of the company.

Ownership of Kenya Seed Company is contested with the private shareholders claiming a 60 per cent stake while the government reckons the firm is a parastatal.

“As shareholders who own majority of stake in the company, we have no option but to seek court orders restraining the new directors from assuming office since their election contravened the company guidelines,” said Mr Tum.

In special gazette, Agriculture CS Peter Munya appointed Francis Okwara as the new board chairperson and Ms Alice Chesire, Ms Gitonga Kamiti, Kipkorir arap Menjo, Mr Samuel Mecca, as members for a period of three years. At same time, CS Munya revoked the appointments of Dr Samson Chelule, Elsbeth Naeku Tolu and Muchohi Ruiru Gikonyo.

The private shareholders want fresh elections to be held in accordance to the company constitution.

“There were clear discrepancies on the election of directors as it did not include the names of continuing directors who should not have been subjected to polls,” said Dr Tum, who has a 3.89 per cent direct stake in Kenya Seed Company.

Mr Kamau from the Treasury challenged the private shareholders who were dissatisfied with the mode of electing new directors to seek legal redress.

Mr Tum was controversially removed as CEO in 2003 following revelations that he had irregularly transferred ownership of the firm to the family of former President Daniel arap Moi.

Over the past 18 years, he has been fighting for control of the seed company in a war that is centred on a 2001 share sale deal that effectively transferred the parastatal to private hands with minority State ownership.

Kenya Seed’s troubles started in 2001 after the management under Mr Tum issued new shares and sold to the Moi-era elite in a transaction that diluted government stake from 52.8 percent to 40 per cent.

Dr Richard Leakey, who was at that time the head of the Public Service, wrote to Mr Tum, expressing reservations over the transaction.