Tea farmers want Sh3bn deposited in Imperial Bank

Wednesday March 2 2016

Tea farm. Representatives of tea farmers have put pressure on Kenya Tea Development Agency to recover the Sh3 billion it deposited in Imperial Bank. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Tea farm. Representatives of tea farmers have put pressure on Kenya Tea Development Agency to recover the Sh3 billion it deposited in Imperial Bank. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GEORGE MUNENE
More by this Author
By TOM MATOKE
More by this Author

The Kenya Tea Development Agency is under pressure to recover the Sh3 billion farmers’ money it deposited in Imperial Bank, now under receivership.

In Kirinyaga, newly-elected Ndima Tea Factory director John Mithamo on Tuesday demanded a forensic audit on KTDA to establish how it sunk the money into the bank.

In Western, the government was asked to investigate why the agency deposited the money in the ill-fated bank.

On Tuesday, small scale farmers from Nandi and Vihiga counties asked the government to ensure the cash is refunded.

They also want to know what action Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has taken against the KTDA following the fixed deposits made to the bank in several tranches.

Amani National Congress  leader Musalia Mudavadi, who toured Nandi at the weekend, accused KTDA of investing farmers’ hard-earned cash without due diligence.

“Since the Imperial Bank collapsed, the government and Central Bank of Kenya have not told farmers what plans have been  made to  recover the Sh3 billion that KTDA deposited in the last year before the bank collapsed,” he said.

STATE INTERVENTION

In Kirinyaga, Mr Mithamo demanded to know how the money was deposited and with whose permission.

Mr Mithamo called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and have the audit done as soon as possible.

“Farmers want to know the truth and only audit will reveal what has happened,” he added.

He claimed the money could not be traced and vowed to pursue the matter until those who might have misappropriated it  are exposed.

“I will fight for farmers who have been  exploited for many years,” said Mr Mithamo.

In Nandi,  Mr Mudavadi said: “It is sad that, so far, the government has not made any effort to ensure farmers whose money KTDA deposited in the collapsed bank are compensated.”

Asked for comment Mr Bett said the government is investigating the matter and reports had been handed over to Parliament and the Senate.

Last week, Agriculture PS Richard Leshiyampe admitted the money could easily be lost as the bank is still in the red.

“We want to find out how  KTDA deposited Sh3 billion in bank that had financial problems,” said Mr Bett.