• On Saturday, Oparanya announced he would take over the company.
• But after a meeting with managers flopped, he said he will work with management to revive the firm.
Attempts by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to take over troubled Mumias Sugar Company flopped yesterday.
Senior managers avoided a meeting with Oparanya who went ahead to form a committee chaired by County Secretary Jacinta Adhiambo to come up with recommendations on how his government could revive the company.
Oparanya toured the factory after the failed meeting and addressed a section of staff. But he changed tune, instead saying he wants to partner with the management to revive the firm.
He said the committee he formed will comprise county staff and two representatives from the company, one representing staff and another the union.
On Saturday, Oparanya announced he would take over the company. He said he would deploy county enforcement officers and police to guard the company, claiming the management planned to sell its assets secretly.
But acting MD Issac Sheunda rubbished Oparanya's committee, terming it illegal and strange.
“We avoided the meeting as management because we don’t have the mandate to deal with the company changeover the governor wanted. We’ll not recognise the resolutions of the meeting because we were not part of it,” Sheunda said.
“The governor is behaving strangely since his election as Council of Governors chairman. He behaves as if he is invincible. Only God can tell.”
He said that Oparanya was meeting some of the staff as residents of Kakamega.
The governor was not genuine about revival of the company because it was he who told sugarcane farmers to uproot cane during campaigns and they did, the director said.
He termed as laughable claims by Oparanya that the company plans to sell off some assets secretly.
“We approached Oparanya and asked him to assist us by having county staff manage our non-core assets like the housing estate and the sports club and assist us in cane development but he declined, agriculture being a devolved function. He cannot then turn around and say we are selling them,” he said.
Sheunda said the board decided to lease off the assets to raise cash to commence operations since they would fetch more under management by an agent. The company has 2, 300 houses.
Sheunda said the government and lenders have said they will not offer further support after assisting pay farmers' arrears amounting to Sh700 million.