• Farmers have threatened to hold demos on September 20 over unpaid dues.
• A notice has demanded the immediate probe into 'fraud that has resulted in many court litigations and denied the company more than Sh500 million in revenue'.
The Migori government is ready to release Sh500 million to support the revival of the ailing Sony Sugar Company.
On Sunday, Governor Okoth Obado said the cash will be disbursed once the county gets clearance from the Senate Agriculture Committee. He urged workers not to panic as there are plans to bail out the factory.
“We’ve set aside the amount to help revive the miller and we need the Senate to approve the expenditure,” he said.
“A matter of this magnitude, including the intrigues facing this factory, must be addressed with utmost urgency.”
Obado hosted Senator Ochillo Ayacko and Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo in the firm’s grounds, Awendo town, during a prayer organised by the Seventh Day Adventists Church.
His promise came after the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, through secretary Argwings Adongo and chairman John Omollo, issued a notice demanding their Sh552 million arrears.
On September 20, the farmers will hold protests if they don’t get their dues. They copied the notice to elected leaders.
The factory faces a grim future and could be in for more trouble as transporters also demand Sh35 millions. Worse still, more than 3,000 workers say they are owed Sh400 million in salary arrears that have accrued from January.
The farmers also want immediate investigations into “fraud that has resulted in many court litigations and denied the company revenue in excess of Sh500 million”.
On the decision by the Obado administration to help the company financially, Ayacko said no legal provision bars the county from giving a bailout.
“If there are funds at the county then let them act speedily at save the company from this stalemate,” he said.
He faulted the national government for allocating Sh2 billion to miraa farmers in Mt Kenya while allocating a paltry Sh400 million to cane farmers.
“It is ungodly to allocate such a huge amount of money to a drug while keeping millions of farmers from the sugar belt with a paltry 400 million,” Ayacko said.
The two leaders appealed to the company management to hire a permanent managing director and overhaul the legal department which they described as a conduit of fraud.
Company chairman Owino Likowa said the amount proposed by the county will help clear the arrears and support maintenance of the mill.
(Edited by F'Orieny)