Mumias Outgrowers Co. now want CJ to constitute bench for Mumias Lease case

Milimani Law Courts

Mumias Outgrowers Company Limited has filed an application seeking to have a suit involving the leasing of Mumias Sugar to Sarrai Group Limited be referred to the Chief Justice to constitute a bench to hear the matter.

Through lawyer Maureen Odeck, Mumias Outgrowers want the application to be certified urgent and be heard on a priority basis.

The applicant is seeking to have the case certified as a matter that as raising substantial questions of law and of great public importance therefore ought to be referred to the CJ for purposes of paneling a bench of uneven number of judges to hear and determine the matter.

“The honourable court be pleased to certify that the matter herein raises substantial and forthwith direct the matter be placed before the honourable Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya for appointment of a bench of an uneven number of judges being not less than three pursuant to article 165 (4) of the constitution,” says MOCL.

The applicant argues that Mu ias Receiver Manager Ponangipali Venkata Ramana Rao who is the first defendant allegedly relied on the decision of the court issued on 19th November 2021 in insolvency petition No. E004 of 2019 to illegally lease and hand over possession of the assets of Mumias Sugar Co. Limited  to the 6th respondent, Sarrai Group Limited without involvement of other creditors despite having been appointed an administrator.

“Despite the 1st defendant inviting public bids for the lease of the assets and having been appointed as an administrator, he chose to evaluate the bids and lease out the assets of Mumias Sugar Co. as a Receiver Manager in exclusion of al, the other creditors in a process that was shrouded in secrecy and opaqueness devoid of any public participation and accountability in violation of the constitution,” states the applicant.

The court further heard that the matter in issue relates to the revival of the industrial gem of Western Kenya and any verdict and any verdict is to affect over one million Kenyans making the matter of great public interest. 

It was further submitted that there are several matters which have been filed in various courts on the same subject matter and the court ought to shield itself and the other courts from an embarrassing situation of having conflicting judgments over the same subject matter.

“In the view of the scope and sensitivity of the matter and how the matter was transferred by Justice Okwany for further directions to the Presiding Judge, its prudent to shield the court from undue pressure by having the matter heard by a bench of three judges as opposed to a single judge,” argues MOCL.

In the case, the applicants include MOCL, West Kenya Sugar Company, Wycliff Barasa Ng’onga Robert Mandinyu Magero, Prisca Okwanko Ochacha, Augustino Ochacha Saba and Lambert Lwanga Ochochi.

The respondents/defendants include P. V Ramana Rao, KCB Bank Kenya Limited, the Attorney General, CS Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Competition Authority of Kenya, Sarrai Group, Chief Land Registrar, The County Government of Kakamega, and Capital Markets Authority.