Mumias Sugar rocked by campaign cash claim

Controversy around the Mumias Sugar Company continued to escalate on Tuesday with circulation of a letter in which a Jubilee MP tried to secure campaign funds from the miller.

In the letter, Mr Errol Johnston, who was until last month the company’s chief executive officer, tells its board’s chairman Kennedy Mulwa that he can not not act on a request to divert Sh10 million to Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.

“The main aim of this letter is to let you know that we are not able to release Sh10 million to Hon Benjamin Washiali for his Jubilee campaigns because we won’t be able to account for it and out core priority I pay to farmers and maintain the factory machines,” he says.

However, Mr Washiali and Mr Mulwa immediately denounced the letter as a forgery.

Mr Washiali said the document was the handiwork of the Opposition, which was scared of the ‘serious inroads’ Jubilee was making in western Kenya.

“That’s not Errol’s signature. Mzungus don’t sign like that. Let our opponents look for votes peacefully. If indeed I want to take money, why would I do so in a struggling company like Mumias?” he posed.

FLED COUNTRY

The MP said the ‘propaganda’ would not stand the best of time, questioning its coincidence with remarks by Nasa leader Musalia Mudavadi on Saturday that Mr Johnston had fled the country after resisting attempts by forces from Jubilee to have him commit money to its campaign. “I challenge anyone to produce evidence linking me with the request for Sh10 million,” he said.

The company is located in Western, a vote basket that Jubilee is keen to get a chunk of in the August 8 polls.

The letter surfaced when questions were still being asked about the killing of the Mumias legal services manager Ronald Lubya on Sunday night at his rural home in Matungu Constituency.

Already, opposition politicians have claimed Mr Lubya was under pressure for resisting an alleged attempt to have imported sugar passed off as Mumias product. The matter is under investigation.

On Tuesday, Mr Mulwa admitted they had received the sugar development levy in March but termed the letter “a fabrication of evil forces”. “It is fake. It not the signature of the former CEO. Even the letterhead is not ours,” he said.

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