Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has opposed plans by the loss-making Mumias Sugar Company to lease noncore properties.
Mr Oparanya has accused the miller’s board of directors of scheming to “cannibalise” and sell off the noncore assets without involving key stakeholders, including farmers. They include the nucleus estate, a water bottling plant and a power generation plant.
He has asked the county attorney to look into the issue and move to court if the process is not stopped, saying it was not in the interest of farmers.
The miller posted a Sh 1,53 billion loss after tax, an 21 percent improvement compared with Sh1.95 billion during the previous year.
The Kakamega Governor who is a co-chair of the national sugar task force, threatened to mobilise sugar cane farmers to stage a protest against the company’s management over the move.
“I am going to mobilise farmers in the Mumias Sugar growing area to stage a sit-in at the company on May 13, to show solidarity with the County Government of Kakamega,” said Mr Oparanya.
The county chief who is the chair of the Council of Governors said: “The purported lease of Mumias Sugar Company assets appears to be an underhand attempt by the management of the company to sell non-core assets behind the back of key stakeholders.
In an advert published in the Daily Nation on Monday, the management of Mumias Sugar Company placed an expression interest for leasing of the non-core functions.
“I wish to make it clear that as a representative of farmers, the county government cannot allow this to happen,” said Mr Oparanya.
The governor and Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri co-chaired the sugar taskforce together appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mr Oparanya said the report prepared by the team will be presented shortly and recommends a raft of measures on plans for the revival of the industry.
“The report contains detailed views from stakeholders to revive the industry including Mumias sugar company…the recommendations include the need to establish a framework for immediate implementation of the recommendations for the revival of the company through a technical committee to be formed by the National Treasury with the involvement of the County Government of Kakamega,” said Mr Oparanya in a statement.
The non-core assets identified for leasing include the nucleus estate and developing of sugarcane on the farms for delivery to the factory.
Other properties set for leasing are the new modern office block with elevator, ample parking and cafeteria facilities. The office is located within the factory compound.
The management is further planning to lease the Golf Club and Guest House. Other properties on the list include the Booker Academy schools, housing estate, medical centre and supermarket.
The Mumias Sugar sports complex which includes the stadium, auditorium, library, gym, bar, and restaurant.
The firm’s modern water bottling plant located at the factory and sell of 3.5 million pieces of assorted water bottling preforms and caps.
The miller is offering to lease the 34.2 Megawatts Co-generation plant located within the factory.