Top Kenya Meat commissioners at Athi River went into 'hiding' during a visit by the Senate agriculture committee on Tuesday.
The team of Senators led by Njeru Ndwiga (Embu) were shocked to find empty offices despite notifying the management of their visit.
Hundreds of livestock farmers who are owed hundreds of millions in non-payments for deliveries, milled around the offices to present their grievances to the Senators.
The commission's staff also lamented of little salary, poor working condition and massive corruption allegedly perpetrated by senior managers.
“As chairman of the team, I am under instruction from the Speaker to establish what intervention KMC is undertaking to pay Kajiado livestock farmers their pending bills amounting to Sh490, 675,336,” Ndwiga said.
Ndwiga said they expected the managing commissioner Joseph Learamo and chairman Senteu ole Ntoross to face the committee after it received a complaint notice from Kajiado nominated Senator Mary Seneta.
He said that in 2017/18 budget, money was set aside for rehabilitation of the Athi River factory and Kibaran, Mombasa.
“We want to know how much was released and what was done. Was KMC factored in the strategic food reserve fund in this year’s financial budget, and how much was set aside for the same?” Ndwiga told journalists on Tuesday.
He said KMC is a state parastatal which has closed down more than once from 2006 and had been supported by Treasury to stand on its own but it is continuing to grind taxpayers money without any sign of improvement.
“The Senate is of the opinion that that KMC must be privatized so that livestock farmers can be allowed to buy shares and manage their own outfit,” Ndwiga said.
A Kajiado livestock farmer Samuel Tupet surprised the committee when he said that KMC has not paid him his Sh3.5 million dues owed since 2016.
“I sold them 200 bulls and all were slaughtered and sold to KWS and KDF immediately but I have never been paid a single penny,” he said.
Another farmer from Marsabit, Hassan Hussein, said he and another business partner are owed Sh18 million.
The Senate team will go back on November 20.