The High Court has extended orders barring Sarrai Group from taking over operations of Mumias Sugar Company pending the determination of a petition filed by five farmers.
This comes less than a day after Kakamega High Court set aside orders, allowing Sarrai Group to proceed with the revival process of the defunct sugar company.
Justice Wilfrida Okwany of the High Court made the ruling on Tuesday evening, saying the interim orders will stay effective until March 14, 2022, when the matter is scheduled for a hearing.
The farmers who also happen to be investors filed the petition against Sarrai Group, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Mumias Sugar’s receiver-manager Ponangipalli Venkata Ramana Rao, Attorney General Kariuki Kihara, CS Agriculture Peter Munya, Kakamega County Cheif Land Registrar, Capital Markets Authority, Gakwamba Farmers’ Cooperative and Competition Authority of Kenya.
Okwany dismissed an application to lift the orders stopping Sarrai Group from commencing the revival process of Mumias Sugar company citing urgency and worthiness of the case by the five farmers and protection of the subject matter.
Okwany also gave the five farmers Prisca Ochacha, Robert Magero, Lambert Ochochi, Wycliffe Ng’ong’a and Augustino Saba more time to respond to evidence by the 10 defendants in the suit.
Kakamega County through their lawyer James Orengo protested the six-week window provided for the farmers and shareholders to prepare for the trial. Orengo said the period was too long.
Okwany also allowed West Sugar Company Limited to join the suit through Senior Counsel Paul Muite and Lawyer Martin Gitonga.
This is the third blow Sarrai Group has suffered since controversially securing the lease for assets of Mumias Sugar Company.
Sarrai Group won the tender for a 20-year lease under which the group was expected to run the plant on behalf of Kenya Commercial Bank whose loan of Sh545 million Mumias defaulted.