Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah has welcomed a decision by the Senate directing Mumias Sugar Company Receiver to advertise bidding for its possible takeover.
The lawmaker, who has been hugely vocal on the issue, says the directive by the Agriculture Committee will put to rest all the questions that have been raised regarding the manner in which the leasing process was being undertaken.
Malalah says the pronouncement vindicates him and ANC Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi following accusations that they were interfering with plans to privatize Mumias Sugar Company.
“We (Malalah and Mudavadi) acted in good faith and now it is clear, no investor had won the leasing bid.” The outspoken Senator charged
Malalah, a key political ally of Mudavadi, hit out at a section of leaders from Western Kenya, among them Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, and former Sports CS Rashid Echesa for popularizing this narrative.
He accused them of duping Kakamega residents, cane farmers, and Kenyans in general into believing that he alongside Mudavadi had approached DEVKI Steels Limited for financial favors so as to promote Raval’s bid.
“We were not interested in any investor in particular but for a transparent process that would see all parties and especially the farmers and the public gain from the revival of Mumias Sugar Company.” The Outspoken Senator remarked
Malalah says he will continue defending the rights of cane farmers and the workers who depend on the sugar miller for a living.
The directive to advertise bidding within two weeks was issued Wednesday when the sugar miller receiver-manager PVR Rao appeared before the Senate committee to issue a status update on the takeover. The meeting between the receiver and lawmakers coming amid claims that the receiver had already engaged eight interested parties and that the process had proceeded without transparency, and public participation.
The Committee led by Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga also put Rao to task over allegations to the effect that an investor had already been identified to take up the operations of Mumias Sugar Company.
Rao was at pains to explain how the eight bidders knew that the company was in the process of being leased, with Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Kitui Counterpart Enock Wambua citing breach of leasing terms and procedures.
DEVKI Steel Mills Ltd, owned by business tycoon Narendra Raval, and which is among eight companies and individuals listed to take over the miller, recently announced withdrawal from the bidding process citing public interest.
Just like Malalah, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi has reiterated that he is not opposed to anyone interested in taking over the fallen sugar giant and that he has no other personal interest in the matter apart from pushing to have the process undertaken openly.
“It is important that we have high levels of transparency as KCB or the receivers are looking at the possibility of getting investors, we want to emphasize that the process is done smoothly and above board,” Mudavadi remarked
According to Mudavadi, whoever wins the bid to run the sugar miller will require the goodwill of the farmers and the public and that the only way to earn it is by ensuring that the process of identifying the would-be investor is not questionable.
“If this is not done, people will feel that there have been underhand deals and that will not be very good for the revival of the factory.” He warned