Mumias revival bid questioned by leaders from sugar belt region

Friday, June 4th, 2021 00:00 |
Mumias Sugar Company.

Dennis Lumiti

Controversy is stalking a recent declaration by Devki Group of Companies executive chair Narendra Raval that  he would invest Sh5 billion to revive the troubled Mumias Sugar Company.

A cross section of leaders from Western now demand to know the criteria used to pick the investor and when the bidding took place.

Raising concerns of over lack of public participation, Amani National Congress (ANC) Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi, his Ford Kenya counterpart senator Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) and Kakamega senator Cleophas Malalah called for transparency on the leasing process.

Narendra Raval who is the Executive Chairman of the Devki Group of Companies that manufactures steel, aluminium and cement has already stated that he is the new investor.

Public listed entities

Both Mumias and Kenya Commercial Bank are public entities and traded in the Nairobi Security Exchange and therefore the transactions must be done transparently.

“It is important that we have a high level of transparency as KCB bank or the receiver are looking at the possibility of getting investors. We want to emphasize that it is important the process be done smoothly and above board,” said Mudavadi.

On his part, former Butere MP Amukowa Anangwe said he supported the revival of the sugar miller and termed some of those opposed to revival of the factory as “the usual hounds that always hope to get kickbacks.”

“These dubious characters should stop sabotaging the efforts to revive the factory or some of us will take them head-on,” the former Cabinet Minister said in a statement.

Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe said Raval was the farmers’ only hope as other previous attempts to revive the once East and Central Africa’s largest sugar producer had been unsuccessful.

Takeover war

Busia Out-growers Company director Lambert Ogochi challenged KCB and receiver manager to come out and make Kenyans understand how they ‘settled’ on Raval.

Ogochi said at least 30 people expressed interests to takeover Mumias, therefore ratings of how each performed during the ratings by KCB he said should be made public for the sake of transparency and accountability.

“It is very telling that the purported investor announced himself as the winner. We want KCB to come out together with the receiver manager and tell us how Raval won the tender,” said Ogochi.

According to Mr Ogochi, it is not going to be easy for the new investor to take over Mumias without the goodwill of the farmers and elected leaders from the region.

“We are happy as farmers that our leaders particularly Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have voiced their concerns about Mumias it is in the interest of both the farmers and the members of the public,” Ogochi maintained.

KCB Group placed Mumias Sugar Company under receivership in 2019 and appointed Ponangipalli Venkata receiver manager.

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