KENYA – In a decisive ruling, Justice Josephine Mongare of the Commercial Court in Nairobi has brought an end to the prolonged lease war surrounding Mumias Sugar Company.
The court dismissed lawyer Jaqueline Kimeto’s attempt to revive the case, asserting that the court had lost the power to entertain the matter after Kimeto withdrew it previously.
The ruling paves the way for Uganda-based miller Sarrai Group to take full control of the crippled Mumias Sugar Company and initiate its revival.
The legal battle involved differentiated interests, with Kimeto, Jaswant Singh, West Kenya Sugar Company, and senior lawyer John Khaminwa on one side, and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Sarrai Group, and Gikwamba farmers on the other.
Justice Mongare’s orders now signal the conclusion of a saga that has seen multiple court appearances and a presidential directive.
Kimeto withdrew the Mumias case following a directive from President William Ruto, who expressed concern that the numerous legal disputes were hindering the miller’s revival.
Sarrai Group had already commenced efforts to repair and revitalize the struggling sugar company when Kimeto moved to court, alleging vandalism of equipment.
Despite Sarrai’s assurances that the supposedly damaged items were undergoing repair, the court had initially blocked the revival.
President Ruto’s intervention, marked by his “mambo ni matatu” (three things) remark, prompted withdrawals from other parties, including West Kenya sugar company and Singh.
Kimeto, however, withdrew under claims of duress, leading to the subsequent unsuccessful attempt to revive the case.
Justice Mongare emphasized that Kimeto’s withdrawal had extinguished the court’s authority to consider the matter further.
“The ruling underscores the principle that a party cannot resurrect a case once withdrawn,” he noted.
The Mumias Sugar Company lease dispute has been a dramatic display in the Kenyan legal landscape. The resolution of the case now clears the way for Sarrai Group to fully undertake the revival and operational management of Mumias Sugar Company.
The prolonged legal battle has been a stumbling block to the Kenyan government’s efforts to revitalize its sugar industry, with Mumias Sugar Company being a significant player.
The court’s decision is expected to provide the stability needed for Sarrai Group to contribute to the restoration of the once-flourishing sugar miller.
As the industry watches closely, the focus now shifts to the implementation of Sarrai Group’s plans and the potential resurgence of Mumias Sugar Company in Kenya’s sugar sector.
The ruling comes in time after the government announced lifting of the ban that had been placed restricting sugar millers from crushing cane.
The government had suspended millers from crushing cane following incidences of some millers crushing immature cane following the increased demand for sugar in the country.
Additionally, the Kenyan government acquired a two-year extension on import sugar control from COMESA as the country embarks on measures to stabilise the local sugar industry.
Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE