Detectives probe KPCU officials over massive plunder
What you need to know:
- Mr Munya is accusing the current leadership of stripping KPCU’s assets and only catering for their own allowances at the expense of farmers.
- The liquidators on Friday took over Wakulima House in Nairobi’s central business district accompanied by security officers.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is investigating officials of the troubled Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) as liquidators appointed to run the institution temporarily track its assets in preparation to sell them off for debt settlement.
Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya on Friday revealed that the probe was started following a complaint by his office, as he announced that the ministry is on a mission to end years of plunder in KPCU by giving the institution back to coffee farmers.
Mr Munya’s revelation followed the deregistration of KPCU, in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that the minister takes over the institution and restructure it.
The KPCU draws its membership from over 703,000 farmers, majority of whom are small-scale.
In its heyday KPCU’s members produced up to 140,000 tonnes of coffee, a huge contrast to the under 40,000 tonnes produced in the recent past.
Mr Munya is accusing the current leadership of stripping KPCU’s assets and only catering for their own allowances at the expense of farmers.
The current board has Mr William Gatei (chairman), Mr George Watitwa (vice chairman), Mr Chrispinus Sinokho, Mr Anthony Waibicho, Mr Abel Marube, Mr David Ringera, Ms Zipporah Wambua, Mr Albert Kamau (members), Mr Joseph Kioko (managing director) and Ms Jacinta Waithira Njogu (deputy managing director).
Acting Commissioner for Co-operative Development Geoffrey Njang’ombe on Friday revoked KPCU’s registration as a co-operative society in the first salvo fired by the Trade and Industrialisation ministry against the institution’s current leadership.
Mr Njang’ombe also appointed liquidators who will be in office for six months.
The KPCU’s deregistration was sparked by its failure to file tax returns, hold elections or improve farmers’ welfare.
An annual general meeting called by the current leadership without involving shareholders only fuelled the fire.
“The liquidators are to determine the value of assets and size of debts. A forensic audit and asset tracing will be done within the six months.
"Creditors will be given 30 days to claim their debts after which the debts will be evaluated and only legitimate ones paid,” Mr Munya said.
Mr Njang’ombe has appointed Mr Stephen Kamau Njoroge (assistant director of co-operative audit), Ms Doris Wangui Githua (principal State counsel), Mr Anthony Maina Waithaka (principal co-operative auditor) and Ms Joyce Nkirote Kinuu (senior State counsel) as liquidators for six months starting Friday.
The liquidators on Friday took over Wakulima House in Nairobi’s central business district accompanied by security officers.
They took away keys to the different quarters of Wakulima House’s fifth and sixth floor. “So far, there has been no hitch as we read to the management the orders we were given and they obliged without incident,” the liquidators said.
The liquidators, who were unforthcoming with any more details of the takeover, stressed that they are only implementing the government’s directive.