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Mombasa Tea Auction suspends operations

By Harrison Kivisu
Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
Mombasa Tea Auction suspends operations.
In summary

TRADE: East Africa Tea traders Association (EATTA) has temporarily suspended Mombasa tea auction after a Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) raid on Friday incapacitated trading.

The officers who confiscated key electronic equipment plunged the agency into a possible diplomatic business spat with regional partners, as the agency warned of loses in excess of Sh2 billion, should the process fail to resume this week.

Mombasa Tea Auction is undertaken on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday, and involves nine regional countries named Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Ethiopia, DRC Congo, Mozambique, Madagascar among others.

Speaking to Business Hub, EATTA Managing Director Edward Mudibo confirmed that the agency was by Monday unable to conduct the multi-million auction exercise.

“If we don’t run this auction this week these partners countries will adversely been affected, for us the auction is significant because the trading that goes on constitutes about Sh2 billion on a weekly basis,” said Mudibo adding that plans were underway to resume operations electronically.

EATTA Mombasa Tea Auction is the largest in the world with 75 per cent of the volume of tea traded and also forms 32 per cent of the country’s exports to the world.

Data from EATTA shows that the volumes that were traded in the auction in 2020 by December were 521 million kilogrammes (kg), and on a weekly basis it’s about 10 million kgs traded at the same auction.

Court order

According to the court order documents seen by Business Hub, the officers were acting on a court Order from chief magistrates Court at Milimani law courts dated April,15,2021 in what is escalating a tiff between Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and the government.

The KTDA headquarters was also raided by individuals who presented themselves as police officers on Friday last week.The raid led to arrest of staffers who were later released but four detained. The reason for the raid still remains unclear.