The once giant miller Mumias Sugar Company could become operational in six months with its new investor, Sarrai Group.
While at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga asked the investor to ensure the troubled miller starts operating to the economic benefit of the country.
“I have told the new investor that Mumias should start producing sugar in six months,” said Odinga.
KCB Group placed Mumias sugar under receivership in September 2019 with the aim of recovering billions of shillings it is owed by the struggling sugar firm.
Odinga’s call comes three days after top bidders protested Mumias leasing to Ugandan company.
Kruman-Finances and Tumaz & Tumaz argues that Sarrai Group, which runs three sugar factories in Uganda– was least qualified to be awarded the deal on grounds that it was not the highest bidder in the process.
Kruman-Finances which was second highest wanted a 25 year-lease with Ksh.19.7 billion offer.
The subject around Musias has left a number of bidders disgruntled, among them Kakamega businessman Julias Mwale who had placed highest bid of Ksh.27.6 billion.
Mwale has already secured a court order which saw Justice Anthony Ndung’u freeze the 20-year-old lease offered to Sarrai Group after his company, Tumaz and Tumaz Enterprises, sued against the offer, saying the bidding was tainted with fraud, mistakes and illegalities.
Sarrai Group, which is associated with Kenyan businessman Sarbi Singh Rai, placed the third-highest bid of Ksh.11.5 billion in the lease battle compared to Mwale’s Ksh.27.6 billion.
Tumaz and Tumaz had unveiled a multi-billion-shilling package that would lead to the upgrade of the rundown production plant and attract farmers back to cane production.
With the case scheduled to be heard on January 24, 2021, the court has directed Mwale to file the main case within three days and the respondents to file theirs seven days afterwards.
Whether the miller becomes operational in six months or not, Odinga’s December 31 directive to the new investor remains to be seen ahead of January 24 ruling.