Business

Trouble looms in tea sector over planned lawyers’ fees

Friday, April 12th, 2024 05:00 | By
Tea plantation. PHOTO/Pexels

A fresh row is simmering in the tea sector after it emerged that there is a scheme to pay hundreds of millions to lawyers representing parties opposed to the implementation of Tea Act 2020.

The renewed squabble pitting tea farmers, Tea Board of Kenya, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) against some of its former directors will see smallholder tea farmers pay lawyers in hundreds of millions for representing the aggrieved parties in court.

 About 14 lawyers from different law firms represented KTDA Holdings, KTDA Management Services limited and Kenya Tea Growers Association in two suits, where parties involved have reached a settlement agreement.

In one of the litigations, Nairobi High Court Consolidated Constitutional Petition No. E254 of 2020, KTDA Holdings Limited and 55 others had sued the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary and 26 others demanding review of the Tea Act 2020.

Settlement agreement

In the second matter, Nairobi High Court Consolidated Constitutional Petition No E016 of 2021, the Kenya Tea Growers Association and 55 others had sued the Attorney General and 24 others. On April 2, 2024, TBK Chairman Jacob Kahiu convened a mediation meeting between the parties which was attended by the advocates and came up with a mediation settlement agreement.

The parties agreed to withdraw all Court of Appeal proceedings arising from the High Court Consolidated Petitions. Also withdrawn are outstanding or pending applications, including the contempt of court applications.

 A section of the agreement indicates that KTDA Holdings Ltd, KTDA Management Service Limited and the Smallholder Tea Factories Companies managed by KTDA shall pay their lawyers appointed at various times.

 It states that Kenya Tea Development Agency (Holdings) Limited, Kenya Tea Development Agency (Management Services) Limited, the Smallholder Tea Factory Companies managed by KTDA shall pay their lawyers appointed at various times.

“The Parties hereby agree that the Court of Appeal proceedings arising from the High Court Consolidated Petitions do and are hereby withdrawn with no Orders as to the costs,” says the mediation settlement agreement seen by the Business Hub.

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