A faction of managers of Kiru Tea Factory in Murang’a County has accused the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) of illegally transacting business with the factory without a legitimate management contract with the growers.
Lawyer Chege Kirundi, who is the chairman of one faction of the management, claimed the contract between them and KTDA ended on June 30, 2019, and that their efforts to have the old contract renewed were unsuccessful.
Mr Kirundi said that KTDA hatched a plot together with the “illegal” board of directors who signed the agreement on behalf of the factory despite a court finding them guilty of contempt for interfering with the leadership and management of the 8,000-member factory.
The six KTDA directors who include Managing Director Lerionka Tiampati, Francis Macharia, Company Secretary John Omanga, Stephen Githiga, Eston Gakunju and Peter Kinyua were sentenced to seven years in jail or pay a fine of Sh400,000 each for disobeying a court order in a suit filed by Mr Kirundi’s faction.
Court of Appeal judges William Ouko, Fatuma Sichale and Otieno-Odek ruled that the directors proceeded with an election yet they had been stopped from doing the same.
Mr Kirundi, who spoke at a tea farmers meeting in Kiamuturi village in Mathioya on Sunday, accused the police of protecting the KTDA and the illegal board when they wanted to take over the management of the factory after the agency failed to renew the 10-year contract.
“The police have been protecting the KTDA and the illegal board. The courts have vindicated my board and the office of Attorney-General bears the name of Mr Bernard Kiragu but Mr Omanga has illegally continued to act as the company secretary which is against the law.
But the other faction led by Mr Stephen Githiga, who also claims to be the bona fide chairman of the factory, alleged that the contract was renewed on February 2, 2018 with an effective date of July 1, 2019.
“There is a procedure when the contract ought to be signed to ensure there is no vacuum in the management of the factory and the contract has been duly renewed,” he said.
On the coming elections, Mr Kirundi cautioned KTDA not to conduct them, saying there is an active court order barring them from holding the elections and warned that he will still file contempt charges against them.
“Despite the court orders, they conducted the elections for the second time and we have filed fresh contempt of court charges. We know they intend to conduct the elections for the third time since they have announced their intentions. Let them dare. We shall not hesitate to file contempt charges for the third time.
“KTDA and any other person should understand that court orders are never issued in vain; they are issued to be followed. Judicial authority is the hallmark of any civilized society,” he told the tea growers.