- 'I want to tell you that some of our leaders have been bought to let Mumias be sold,' Echesa said.
- Receiver manager Rao denies any improprieties, says the aim is to revive Mumias to repay loan, help farmers and county economy.
Two Kakamega leaders have claimed that a section of elected county leaders has been compromised to support the Mumias Sugar Company takeover by Kenya Commercial Bank.
Matungu MP Justus Murunga and ex-sports CS Rashid Echesa said on Saturday hat receiver-manager PVR Rao has been reaching out to elected leaders to convince them to allow the takeover-sale of the miller.
Kenya Commercial Bank, one of the lenders to the miller, appointed PVR Rao last month as the receiver-manager for the company.
“I want to tell you that some of our leaders have been bought to let Mumias be sold. The receiving manager called me recently and I asked him to come to my house and when he came he told me that he had met other leaders and he only wanted to meet me,” Echesa said.
“When I asked him what he, as receiver-manager, wanted to discuss with me, he said that he had met Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Mumias East MP Ben Washiali and they had no problem. He then said that he wanted us to talk as well,” he said.
Murunga said the receiver-manager invited him to a meeting but he declined.
We told them that our intention is to revive the company operations so the company can be able to repay the loan. We have not at any stage discussed bringing in an investor at this stage.Receiver-manager PVR Rao
“If they want to sell the company, let them sell their company but they will not be allowed to touch the land that belongs to the Wanga people,” he said.
Murunga said that the plan is to have the leaders support the takeover and then the company would be sold to an investor in one of the private sugar factories in the region. They spoke during the burial of Mathews Okanya in Matungu on Saturday.
However, on Sunday Rao denied any impropriety involving leaders and the takeover.
Rao told the Star that he met local leaders to brief them about KBC's intentions concerning the company.
We told them that our intention is to revive the company operations so the company can be able to repay the loan. We have not at any stage discussed bringing in an investor at this stage," he said on the phone..
"The local leadership should be happy that the lost employment will return and farmers will be able to sell their cane and receive cash," said.
Rao said that the company has had trouble for the last three years and he fails to understand why anyone should be upset at the revival.
He said that KCB took over the company to protect its assets from being auctioned so that it can be revived.
Rao said it was unfortunate that some politicians would want to make political capital out of the takeover. He said the intentions are good for the company, the farmers and the bank.
Washiali too dismissed as nonsense claims by Echesa that leaders had been compromised.
He said that the receiver-manager last week requested to meet Governor Oparanya and he asked him, Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe, Ikolomani’s Bernard Shinali and county trade chief officer Kassim Were to accompany him.
“It’s the receiver who wanted to meet the governor and inform him what he intends to do in his county and that was it. It was public knowledge. Rashid wanted to be included in the meeting to represent people of Mumias West but the question was, as who?” Washiali said.
Kakamega leaders want to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta on the revival of Mumias Sugar Company.
At a meeting held at Bishop Nicholas Stam Pastoral Center on Friday evening, the leaders agreed to engage the national government through the President. They said they wanted his commitment to the revival of the miller, adding that its collapse would spell doom for the county’s economy.
On Saturday, Echesa said that KCB should stop saying that it wants to revive the company.
“We’re aware that KCB has moved in to receive the company to protect its property from other lenders, so they can sell the firm, and recover its money and there’s nothing like reviving the miller,” Echesa said.
(Edited by V. Graham)