Sony Sugar MD, board differ over financial report

Sony Sugar Managing Director Jane Pamela Odhiambo and the company’s Board have differed over the miller’s financial performance over the last quarter.

The latest dispute came under a week after the board sent Ms Odhiambo on compulsory leave over alleged theft of sugar in the factory.

On Thursday, the board Chairman Ambrose Weda said the miller made Sh140 million profit in the quarter that ended on December 31, 2016.

“This in comparison to Sh42.6 million loss for the same period in 2015, representing a 134 per cent increase. Payment to cane farmers is up to date since June 2015,” he said.

Mr Weda said his board was “keen on reducing financial mismanagement and looting at the miller.”

He said he was rolling out a new programme in which farmers “will be paid upon delivery”.

However, in a rejoinder, the MD disputed the figures saying they were not official.

She said the report must be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture before they are made public.

Ms Odhiambo said due process was not followed in the release of the results.

“The financial reports must first be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and National Treasury for verification because they are the owners of the factory…that has not been done so far. The board chairman cannot just release financial results without following the laid down procedures,” she said.

Sony Sugar has 30,000 contracted farmers in Migori, Homa Bay and Kisii counties.

The row escalated under a week after Mr Weda revealed that Ms Odhiambo had been sent on a compulsory leave following theft of sugar worth millions of shillings from the firm’s stores.

The theft has not been linked to her but investigations are underway.

Mr Weda said she was suspended to pave the way for the investigations.

“Our preliminary investigations has confirmed that sugar worth millions of shillings has been lost in the recent past, necessitating the probe. Nobody is considered guilty until the investigations are over,” said Mr Weda.

Ms Odhiambo said the letter sending her on leave had not been accompanied by the board’s minutes.

“I have received a letter but it’s not accompanied by the board minutes or resolutions. And the letter sending me on compulsory leave should have come from the Ministry of Agriculture…my appointing authority and not the board,” Ms Odhiambo told the Nation by phone.

She promised to respond elaborately on specific allegations made against her after “getting further directions from my employer”.

The board has already appointed the factory manager Bernard Otieno as the acting MD until the investigations are concluded.

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