The fate of Chemelil Sugar Company Managing Director Gabriel Nyangweso and Finance Manager Emmanuel Ngala will be known tomorrow as top officials from the Ministry of Agriculture will make a decision over their alleged involvement in multiple graft.
This comes as the factory workers accused the duo of presiding over numerous cases of financial impropriety and accumulating salary arrears of close to Sh1 billion.
The hard-line stance between the two sides forced Agriculture CAS Ann Nyaga, acting Sugar Directorate head Willis Audi and two directors from Agriculture and Food Authority to intervene after workers demanded for their removal, citing mismanagement of the company.
According to Kenya Union of Sugarcane Plantation and Allied Workers (Kuspaw) general secretary Francis Wangara, the management has failed to reinstate full salary payments despite an improved performance.
“This has seen an accumulation of 42 months’ salary arrears owed to employees by the company amounting to Sh875 million,” he said.
Based on the improvement in production as was witnessed in the financial year 2020/2021, noted Mr Wangara, the company milled a total of 412,000 tonnes of cane both from the out growers and the nucleus estate farms.
But a source privy to investigations said that the team will rely on official audited accounts before making any decision.
"The team will analyse all the allegations raised by the workers to verify their culpability," said the source who requested anonymity.
The union in their petition to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya pointed out that the management has failed to honour their pledges despite several meetings between the union and top management.
On the other hand, the workers have accused the management of failing to remit statutory and loan deductions to banks and saccos as per existing memorandum of understanding between the company and the respective financial institutions.
“Workers have since been registered with the Credit Reference Bureau for non-compliance to their liabilities,” said the petition in part.
They noted that the move has put the company assets into a risk after the financial institutions contracted the services of auctioneers to pursue their pending loans with the employees of Chemelil Sugar Company.
They also pointed out that the management has been involved in irregular award of tenders through proxies.
“The managing director himself is also believed to have benefited from the same where her sister runs a tender of supplying foodstuffs to the company’s guest house and Chemelil Academy High School,” said their petition.
Chemelil branch Kuspaw secretary Jack Osida has also stated that the marketing department should be probed over effecting differentiated sugar pricing that has seen some customers paying lesser amounts as compared with that adopted by the pricing committee.
“While the present price is Sh5,200, some customers are paying Sh4,400 for a 50kg bag of sugar and looting huge sums of money from the company,” said Mr Osida.
The move to suspend the duo was reached after workers threatened to down their tools if the duo were allowed back to the company.
The workers last week clashed with farmers and transporters who expressed support for Mr Nyangweso’s administration.
Mr Tom Okal, a farmer, accused the workers of creating instability at the troubled company by putting endless demands and sabotaging the management of the company.
“As providers of the critical raw materials, we will not allow an individual to make decisions that have dire consequences on our harvests,” said Mr Tom Okal.