Mwiwani Sugar opposed move to acquire 3,000 acres for SEZ

Mwiwani Sugar opposed move to acquire 3,000 acres for SEZ

A section of Miwani Sugar Company stakeholders opposed a move by the government to acquire 3,000 acres for the establishment of a Special Economic Zone SEZ. The National Land Commission NLC met at the company premises and called it illegal plans to buy land from a private investor.

The Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association Kesga secretary-general Richard Ogendo said the move was fraudulent and an attempt to steal public coffers.

We can't have a situation where officials in government pretend to buy a land held in trust for the people. He said it was extremely ridiculous that a company can claim to be part of the expansive Miwani nucleus land.

The stakeholders included farmers, workers and local leaders from the troubled miller challenged the ownership of 3,000 acres by Crossley Holdings Limited.

Referring to the NLC document dated February 25, NLC Chair Gershom Otachi issued a notice of intent to acquire the land to give room for the project expected to boost the economy of western Kenya.

According to the Land Act, Part VIII, the National Land Commission on behalf of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development gives notice that the national government intends to acquire land for the Miwani SEZ, according to the document.

Miwani Sugar Company lawyer David Otieno said that the move by the commission was fraudulent and an attempt to steal public coffers.

He said earlier that while the case is yet to be determined, the commission went ahead to issue a notice of their intention to acquire the land.

The NLC has indicated that the case of Crossley Holdings Limited is the registered owner of the controversial land, which has been dragging in court since 2007 due to the NLC's notice number 2052.

Francis Ooko, the Miwani receiver manager, said that the government should dispense with the case to rekindle revival plans of the miller that has been in receivership since 2001.

He said that the multibillion project should not be left idle while thousands of people who depend on sugarcane farming suffer at the behest of a few people who are only interested in their selfish interests.