MP wants Kidero prosecuted over Mumias Sugar collapse

An MP has called for the prosecution of Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero for ‘killing’ Mumias Sugar Company.

In what could rekindle a blame game over the struggling sugar miller, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali claims the former Mumias Sugar boss should be held responsible for woes the company is going through.

While the MP alleges Dr Kidero contributed to the downfall of the company, the Nairobi Governor has previously denied any wrongdoing, saying he left the firm in 2013 when it was still in good economic health.

But the decision to drag him back into the fold for blame emerged after opposition politicians said the government had contributed to killing sugar factories in Western Kenya, which has been the main source of livelihood for people there.

CAMPAIGNS

National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders spoke as a letter surfaced claiming that Mr Washiali had tried to seek money from Mumias for Jubilee campaigns.

On Friday, the MP termed the document a forgery and instead pushed back the blame to opposition leaders saying they looked the other way when it came to Kidero.

“A critical look at the ailing sugar sector shows that key Nasa leaders engineered the fall of sugar companies in Western Kenya and are today using the proceeds they milked from the firms to finance the opposition,” he claimed.

On Tuesday, Deputy President William Ruto accused Nasa leaders, previously in the coalition government, of taking Mumias to its knees.

“Mr Kidero should tell his friend (Raila) to repay the debts he owes the sugar factory so that farmers who are suffering due to financial difficulties and poor management of the factory in the past can be paid their money,” he said at Matungu in Kakamega County.

SUGAR SHORTAGE

The Odinga family officially deny owing Mumias money and have explained that the transaction they did with the company was through a secured bank loan.

Mumias Sugar Company, the largest sugar miller in the country was making profits until 2012 when it plunged into huge losses.

In 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta during a tour of western Kenya visit presented to the management of Mumias Sugar, a Sh1 billion bailout cheque and announced a revival strategy that includes undertaking a rights issue to raise approximately Sh4 billion.

But those efforts are still to bear fruit with the country still experiencing sugar shortage. This week, Agriculture CS Willy Bett said his ministry has intervened to lower the price of sugar, which currently goes at Sh150 a kilo.

“Sugar prices have been addressed and by next Monday, the price of 1kg of sugar will start retailing at Sh120,” said the CS.

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