Written by Wanyonyi wa Wasike
Read 1088 Times
A bitter war has erupted again at Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma County with the staff accusing a section of the firm’s board of directors of interference in the company’s tendering procedures.
The company’s staff on Tuesday raised a red flag over several cases witnessed in recent days in which some board members openly went out of their way to demand for bribes from prospective tenderers in order to influence various tenders in the latters’ favor.
In a statement released by the Kenya Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers Union (KSPAW) National Chairman Mr. Macdonald Wamacho, the workers cautioned three board members who they didn’t name straight away to desist from the trend or risk being prevented from accessing the company premises.
“We have fought corruption in this company over the years and managed to put in place a responsible management team that has helped to turn around the financial status of the company. We will stop at nothing to expose the culprits to the anti-corruption agencies if they continue carrying on with their behavior,” warned Wamacho who is also the KSPAW Nzoia branch Secretary.
He singled out a Ksh.300 million tender for the construction of a water bottling plant, a Sh100 million tender for the supply of new cane transport tractors and the company’s recent acquisition of a Sh10 million lathe machine as some of the big tenders that three directors influenced after talking to those who were eventually awarded.
Wamacho claimed that a senior board member pocketed a cool Ksh.15 million from two firms that were each competing to be awarded the water-bottling tender that was eventually awarded to a Chinese firm.
“Let those who were involved take this as a warning shot because local companies that missed out on the tender even after doing what was demanded of them have come out with complaints and we can’t sit back and watch while the credibility of our company is being eroded,” warned Wamacho.
He further claimed that another director received Ksh.300,000 to influence the award of the tender for the supply of 100 new transport tractors while the lathe machine was bought by a firm that has close links with the three directors.
Wamacho also took issue with the board for failure to hand over duties of the anti-cane poaching unit to the staff for proper management. He added that board members who control the unit have resisted relinquishing it due to the huge and questionable allowances that they draw monthly from its operations.
“We had resolved way back in December that the activities of the anti-poaching unit be taken over by staff from the company but since then the board is yet to ratify the resolution.
We took the move after realizing that the company was losing millions of shillings every month from the activities of an outside unit that can effectively be handled by our own staff,” said Wamacho.
But the Chairman of the company’s board of directors Lawrence Sifuna (pictured above left) dismissed the allegations and challenged Wamacho to table evidence linking board members to corruption activities at the firm.
“We as board members don’t sit in any tendering committee. These are very independent committees and it beats logic for anyone to claim that we can influence award of tenders. Let him table his evidence and all of us will resign!” Sifuna told West Fm on phone.
On the anti-cane poaching unit handover, the chairman said that there is a little delay in making the changes as he is still in the process of compiling the board’s final report over the menace that threatened to cripple the activities of the second-largest miller in the country before handing over the unit to be managed by the company’s own staff.
The unit comprises of over 100 people, majority of who were drawn from outside the company, and receive their monthly salaries and allowances from the sugar firm.
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