KENYA – Mumias Sugar Company is mulling extending the term of its CEO Coutts Otolo even as it hired eight managers to replace those sacked last year in a corruption purge.
In a recent recruitment exercise, the cane miller failed to get a candidate who met the requirements for the position of CEO, with the management saying the applicants were not suitable to the needs of the company.
Mumias chairman Dan Ameyo told the Business Daily that the board will not leave the CEO’s position vacant when the contract of the incumbent comes to an end on July 31.
“The board has reached a decision that we are not going to leave a vacuum at the position of the CEO and we might extend the term of the current officer to manage the transition at the company until we get adequate replacement,” said Mr Ameyo, noting that recruitment of a new CEO is ongoing.
Mr Otolo’s term is coming to an end after serving for a period of one year after the former chief executive Peter Kebati was sacked.
Appointment of the new managers is part of the conditions that the government and creditors required the sugarcane miller to fulfil before giving it part of the money needed to revive operations at the ailing firm.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta presented a Sh1 billion cheque to Mumias to facilitate the payments of farmers’ debts as well as enable it maintain its machines.
The new managers who will be assuming office on July 1 include Julie Kisaka (chief of commercial services), Voi Chiuli (chief human resource services officer) Josephat Asira (chief factory service officer), Eddie Odhiambo (chief supply chain officer) and Moses Owino (manager corporate strategy, planning and communications).
Others are Charles Chacha Sibena (manager security), Irene Koki Muasya (manager risk & compliance), Charles Kimiti (manager information technology) and Ronald Lubya (manager legal affairs).
The position of the chief finance officer remains vacant as the company is still scouting for an appropriate candidate.
An audit report by KPMG revealed that the problems facing the cane miller mainly emanated from poor management, with former top managers accused of running down the miller through financial misappropriation.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations has completed a probe into the multibillion-shilling scam and submitted the file to his office for action.
Mr Tobiko said all managers who have been accused of involvement in looting could face prosecution in coming weeks following three months of investigations that began in February.
The move comes barely a week after Mr Kenyatta urged Mr Tobiko to ensure that those who stole are arrested and charged.
The western Kenya sugar miller has been facing operational challenges resulting from financial difficulties that had almost paralysed the factory, reducing milling activities to three days in a week.
The miller is indebted to the tune of Sh6.5 billion. The Sh1 billion is part of the Sh5 billion that the factory requires to return to relative financial health. The firm expects to raise the remaining Sh4 billion through a rights issue.