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Nyeri coffee society boss ordered out as farmers protest

Monday October 28 2019

Tekangu Coffee Society

Members of Tekangu Coffee Society in Nyeri County confront their chairman Peterson Muriuki in 2016 after he ordered journalists out of an AGM. The commissioner for cooperative development has blocked Mr Muriuki from holding office. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IRENE MUGO
By IRENE MUGO
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The commissioner for cooperative development has blocked the chairman of a coffee society in Nyeri from holding office after he was accused of mismanagement of funds and a vote of no confidence on him by the farmers.

Farmers delivering their produce to Tekangu Coffee Cooperative have registered their frustrations with the running of its affairs, linking it to poor pay for their produce for the last seven years.

In their petition to the cooperatives tribunal, farmers want Mr Peterson Muriuki investigated and his committee that runs the factory be disqualified from holding office.

MONEY LOST

“Mr Muriuki is not to hold any managerial position at the society without clearance from the State Department for Cooperative Development,” read a letter from acting commissioner Geoffrey Mwang’ombe.

According to an inquiry conducted three years ago, since Mr Muriuki took a managerial position at the cooperative society in 2014, he could not account for Sh956,102. At the same time, by the end of the 2013/2014 coffee year, the society had lost more than Sh8 million.

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The amount was allegedly surcharged to 11 other members working with the leadership of the coffee society that runs four factories.

Farmers further accused the former chairman of the society of planning to interfere with upcoming elections.

ELECTIONS

They are set to elect five members of the New Tekangu Farmers’ Cooperative Society.

“The election is discriminatory and clothed up with unfair administrative actions by the current society manager. Should the election proceed as scheduled, it will deny farmers a right to elect a candidate of their choice,” said Mr Harrison Munyi who petitioned on behalf of Tekangu farmers.

Farmers want the election postponed and the current management stopped from vying.

This comes after a forensic audit revealed that lack of professionalism, over borrowing and poor management skills were highlighted as major contributors to the problems facing the coffee industry.

"We want a special audit conducted from 2014 to date so that we can recover money that has been stolen as per the inquiry," said Mr Munyi.