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Officials threaten to close Nyeri coffee mill

Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY WAMBUGU KANYI
ON THE SPOT: The Sh150 million Central Kenya Coffee Mill near Karatina town, which the Nyeri county government has threatened to close down.Photo/Wambugu Kanyi
ON THE SPOT: The Sh150 million Central Kenya Coffee Mill near Karatina town, which the Nyeri county government has threatened to close down.Photo/Wambugu Kanyi

The Nyeri government has threatened to shut down a Sh150 million coffee mill near Karatina town. Four county officials have given Central Kenya Coffee Mill a seven-day ultimatum to submit all its certificates or face closure.

 The three executives, Shadrack Mubea (Agriculture and Fisheries), Stanley Miano (Trade and Investment), John Maina (Physical Planning) and Nyeri chief of staff Duncan Maina gave the notice during a press conference at White Rhino Hotel in Nyeri town on Thursday.

Mubea said the mill was built without a grant of permission provided in part V of the Physical Planning Act CAP 286.

 “ There was failure to obtain building plans approval form PPA2, failure to obtain change of user for the agricultural land that they have developed, failure to obtain licence from Nema and operating without carrying out an environmental impact assessment of the project and also failure to obtain Occupation and Health Safety Licence for the facility,” he said.

 Mubea said the county government has ordered the owner of the mill to stop any activity and operations at the land in Mathaithi.

 “We want the owner immediately serve the county government with the approved building plans, change of user for the land, EIA licence and reports for the project from Nema and Occupation and Health Safety Licence,” he said.

 The executives were at pains to explain why the county government is harassing the investor at a time when several coffee societies in the region have refused to deliver their coffee at Sagana KPCU Coffee Mill, which is the wish of Governor Nderitu Gachagua, and instead moved to court.

The mill has been in operation for seven years and has been grinding more than 50 per cent of Nyeri coffee. When contacted, the mill's general manager Charles Mwea said they complied with all the necessary rules before setting up.

 He said they will give the county government the documents and will later go to court to stop any action by the administration.

 “We are milling the coffee of 50 societies, which is 153 factories from Central Kenya region and more than 12,000 metric tonnes from 300,000 coffee farmers who are as far as Meru, Embu, Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Nyeri counties,” he said.

 He said more than 130 employees mostly from Mathira will be rendered jobless if the multimillion-shilling project is closed down.

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