West Kenya Sugar opposes Gakwamba Farmers appeal on Mumias Sugar lease case

Lawyer Paul Muite submitting during the hearing of the Mumias Sugar Co. lease case. Photo/Suek

West Kenya Sugar company has opposed a bid by Gakwamba Farmers to overturn a court decision nullifying leasing of Mumias Sugar assets to Sarrai Group.

Through Senior Counsel Paul Muite and Martin Gitonga, West Kenya said the application has been filed with an activist agenda of frustrating the appointment of the new administrator of Mumias and to prevent the cancellation of the lease issued to Sarrai Group limited.

“The said application by Gakwamba Farmers is frivolous, incompetent and an abuse of the court process,” Muite said.

The sugar giant added that Gakwamba’s application does not disclose any arguable appeal with chances to succeed. In addition, the draft appeal constitutes unsubstantiated and misplaced attacks on the ruling of Justice Alfred Mabeya delivered on 14th April 2022.

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It was Muite and Gitonga’s submission that Gakwamba has failed to substantiate its allegations that the court’s ruling disregarded the social economic impact it will have and particularly that it had occasioned the loss of jobs. 

“No evidence has been tabled by Gakwamba Farmers to demonstrate the number of employees appointed by Mumias subsequent to the award of the impugned lease awarded to Sarrai and that such employment was solely pegged on the substance of the said lease”, lawyers added. 

Administration vacuum

West Kenya dismissed claims by the farmers that there was a vacuum in the administration. 

“There is no vacuum in the administration, control and management of Mumias and appointment of Kereto Marima as administrator of Mumias ushers in fresh impetus in the revival plans of Mumias,” West Kenya said.  

The High court ruled that the then administrator Ponangipali Ramana Rao overstepped his mandate by undertaking the role of the Competition Authority of Kenya in his determination that awarding the lease to West Kenya would result in Western Kenya holding a dominant position in the sugar market.

Justice Mabeya ruled that Rao failed to discharge his duties as an administrator in the best interest of the stakeholders of Mumias.