ALLEGEDLY OWED BY KFS

Saw millers want DCI, DPP to help 'recover' their money

In Summary

• The traders from Meru, Laikipia and Nyeri counties say no saw miller is allowed in government forests without having been prequalified and paying all necessary taxes.

• A statement released by KFS last week indicated that it had noted with serious concern allegations appearing in various media of money owed to saw millers by the service.

Saw millers drawn Meru, Laikipia and Nyeri Counties display their documents indicating they have paid the necessary monies to KFS for them to remove logs in government forests.
saw millers, KFS standoff. Saw millers drawn Meru, Laikipia and Nyeri Counties display their documents indicating they have paid the necessary monies to KFS for them to remove logs in government forests.
Image: ELIUD WAITHAKA

@Waithaka06

Saw millers in Mt Kenya region want DCI George Kinoti and DPP Noordin Haji to help them recover more than Sh300 million they claim the Kenya Forest Service owes them.

The traders from Meru, Laikipia and Nyeri counties yesterday said that no saw miller is allowed in government forests without having been prequalified and paying all necessary taxes.

They spoke to the media in Nanyuki town.

The traders said they have suffered for close to two years after the KFS imposed a ban on logging. Two weeks ago Environment CS Keriako Tobiko put a moratorium for another year.

“I have paid money to the KWS for the trees I bought. I have taken complaints letters to the forester and Eco System Conservator in Nairobi demanding the refund of the money but nothing is forthcoming, despite them acknowledging receiving the documents,” James Ndereba said.

He said they no longer want the trees since most of the ones that had been felled are now rotten and are of no use.

Rose Nyambura, a saw mill operator, asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene as he did with traders in Nyamakima, Nairobi, who had a similar problem.

“We were told to buy machines worth millions of shillings to minimise wastage which we did. We have been auctioned, and we have nowhere else to go,” the treasurer of Nyeri timber manufacturers said.

Robert Kimanthi, the chairperson Buuri saw millers association in Meru county, said they are now viewed as illegal loggers by the public.

“We have no problem with Tobiko closing the forests even for 30 years. We have been punished for no apparent reasons for the last two years despite having the necessary documents,” Kimanthi said.

He said they are unable to access credit facilities from commercial institutions.

A statement released by KFS last week indicated that it had noted with serious concern allegations appearing in various media of money owed to saw millers by the service.

“The service has not received any formal complaints from any saw miller regarding money owed to them. KFS staff in the Conservancies Forest Stations have also not received any formal complaints from the saw millers considering they are the first point of contact with the saw millers,” the statement read.

It further read that contrary to the allegations being raised by some saw millers, the service is owed in excess of Sh1 billion since 2018 and it has made demands to the specific saw millers to settle their debts.