Munya, Yatani faulted for KPCU mess

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 06:30 | By
Munya, Yatani faulted for KPCU mess
Cooperatives and SMEs Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui (centre) with members of the Parliamentary Coffee Caucus address the media at Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos, yesterday. PD/GERALD ITHANA

Members of Parliament from coffee-growing regions have accused former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and his Treasury counterpart Ukur Yatani of plotting to take over ownership of the new Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU).

The 77-member Parliamentary Coffee Caucus are demanding to know why the two former CS’s names appear in the institution’s company registration documents.

“The former Cabinet Secretaries Ukur Yatani and Peter Munya have taken over ownership of KPCU. The CR12 that we were able to search from the Registrar of Companies clearly indicates that the two are the owners with shares which is completely unacceptable,” Caucus chairperson Gathoni Wamuchomba and Githunguri MP said.

Speaking at Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos county on Monday, the  lawmakers vowed to table the matter in their respective Houses to correct the abnormality and present a legislative framework that will counter some alleged bad laws that have been oppressive to coffee farmers.

“We want to tell Munya and Yatani that the people of Kenya do not trust you to hold their assets because if they did, they would have voted in Azimio government. And because they don’t trust you, we are urging you to immediately keep away from what belongs to poor farmers,” Wamuchomba stated.

The lawmakers likened the new development to what befell Kenya Cooperative Creameries, Kenya Seed Company and Kenya Farmers Association.

They asked President William Ruto to intervene and cushion coffee farmers before the release of the Hustler Fund early next month.

Similar sentiments

Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga said both Houses of Parliament will root for the formation of a Judicial Commission on Inquiry to probe the new KPCU ownership.

“It is wrong for Munya to be in the CR12. You cannot be a caretaker when you have shares. Shares mean you invested your money,” he said.

Similar sentiments were raised by Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga and MPs John Kaguchia (Mukurwe-ini) and Gichimu Githinji (Gichugu), who called on the government to streamline the sector to guarantee farmers minimum returns.

The meeting was graced by Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, who said that it would be impossible at this era and time for anyone to take over public assets.

“I know it is not a proper governance style but it is something that I commit myself to rectify if that is the situation and restore back the assets of farmers to KPCU,” he said.  The lawmakers also raised concern over the slow uptake of the Sh3 billion cherry advance revolving fund that was allocated in 2019 and to date, only Sh500 million have been absorbed.

Slow uptake

Chelugui said the slow uptake was attributed to the improper involvement of stakeholders in implementation. He vowed to institute a review of the regulations governing the fund.

 “The way this fund was structured is direct support to a farmer. A farmer pays 60 per cent while government subsidizes with 40 per cent. There have been complaints by coffee cooperative society’s leaders that they’ve not been involved and therefore, they have not participated in promoting the uptake of these funds,” Chelugui said.

He added: “We will be reviewing the rules governing the cherry fund to address the issues and ensure easy access by farmers.”

The Government is keen on increasing coffee production from the current 34.5 metric tonnes to over 40 metric tonnes.

Chelugui said the government is keen on operationalising the Nairobi Coffee Exchange to enable farmers receive payments promptly.

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