Office of AG held back in KTDA probe

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 00:00 |
A small scale tea farmer picks tea. Photo/PD/File

Steve Umidha @UmidhaSteve

The High Court on Tuesday restrained the Attorney General (AG) from probing the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) and the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) for 14 days until a matter challenging the move is heard and determined.

Criminal High Court Judge Jessie Lessit put on hold an earlier court order which had allowed Attorney General Kihara Kariuki to scrutinise internal dealings, statutory and regulatory compliance breaches allegedly committed by directors of the two agencies.

Enforce ex parte order

“This honorable court has hereby issued an order restraining the respondent by himself, his officers, servants, agents, investigators, inspectors or representatives otherwise howsoever from enforcing and/or continuing to enforce the ex parte order issued on 15th April 2021 in Nairobi Milimani Law Courts Chief Magistrate’s Court Miscellaneous Criminal Application No. E1248 of 2021, Republic (Through the Office of the AG) vs. KTDA, KTDA Management Services, Chai Trading Company and EATTA pending the hearing and determination of this Application, inter partes,” ruled Justice Lesiit.

In March this year, President Kenyatta directed Agriculture CS Peter Munya to oversee a probe into the KTDA and its top officials, and ensure that it is farmers that benefit the most from the earnings as opposed to middle men.

In his directives contained in an Executive Order No. 3 of 2021 on the Revitalisation of the Tea Sub-Sector directed, President Kenyatta also directed AG Kariuki to conduct an inquiry into allegations of statutory and regulatory breaches in the last decades believed to have put small-holder farmers at a disadvantaged position.

Kenyatta had moved that there were “credible allegations raised regarding potential Price and Auction Manipulation, Abuse of Dominance, Insider Trading, Wastefulness and Breach of Director’s Fiduciary Duties, and other alleged malfeasances by or within KTDA.”

The matter comes up for direction as to hearing on Thursday April 29.

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