06 Dec

Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki now wants Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings, its agent Kenya Tea Development Agency (Management Services) Ltd and its officers found to be in contempt of court. The AG wants to have KTDA, its agent and the officers punished by being committed to jail for six months for allegedly ignoring a court order temporarily stopping nominations and elections for tea factory directors. The officers named by the AG are managing director (KTDA (management services) Ltd Alfred Njagi, group company secretary John Omanga, general manager operations Kana Godana, Region 2 manager Anthony Mureithi and head of secretariat and governance Lydia Ng’ang’a. In his application, the AG argues, through an internal memo dated November 27, the alleged contemnors instituted the process of conducting elections and discussed logistics of holding them. Through deputy chief state counsel Nguyo Wachira, the AG says that KTDA, through its agent KTDA (management services) Ltd, had by notice dated November 28 advertised elections of directors of various tea factories contrary to the court order. “The interested party (KTDA) and KTDA (management services) Ltd are sister companies who work together and are managed by the same board of directors and have one group company secretary,” argues the AG. He also argues that various tea factories received an internal memo by Ms Ng’ang’a informing them of the factory elections scheduled for Friday and buying centre committee elections to be held on December 3. The AG also argues that KTDA intends to hold its Annual General Meeting between December 7 and 23 for purposes of ratifying the elections of the directors. “Proceeding with the directors’ nominations and elections by KTDA’s agent in total disregard of the court order issued on October 29 and extended on November 26 amounts to contempt of court,” argues the AG. He further says that it is KTDA’s duty to monitor and control activities carried out by its agents and its failure to prohibit (KTDA (management services) Ltd) from proceeding with the directors' elections renders it a contemnor as well. The AG says that an injustice will be occasioned against the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya who has the statutory mandate to formulate policies and regulations to govern the sector. “Proceeding with the intended directors’ elections will be a mockery of the functions of the office of the first applicant (the CS) as well as disregard the authority of the court,” argues the AG. On Monday, the AG also filed an application seeking to have temporary orders issued stopping the implementation schedule of the Crops (Tea Industry) Regulations 2020, popularly referred to as tea sector reforms, set aside. The AG argues that the High Court should act with restraint when stopping implementation of the law since it (law) is deemed legal after it has been published and passed all the requirements. He argues that the regulations contested by the East African Tea Trade Association (Eatta), the petitioner, have been passed by the National Assembly and are pending approval of the Senate. Eatta wants a declaration that the Crops (Tea Industry) Regulations Implementation Schedule published by the CS on August 3 and advertised in a local daily were issued in a manner that is inconsistent with provisions of the Constitution and Statutory Instruments Act, hence null and void. It says that the CS did not engage it and other stakeholders before coming up with a compliance schedule and that its publication contravenes the Constitution which requires public participation and consultation in governance. Eatta also argues that the regulations are a subsidiary legislation which requires approval from the National Assembly prior to enactment as per the Statutory Instruments Act. It also says that approval from the National Assembly was not sought, thus making the regulations and Mr Munya's publication of compliance timetable illegal from the start. Eatta also wants the court to quash the implementation schedule for being null and void and also wants an order issued compelling the CS and Agricultural and Food Authority from implementing the Crops (Tea Industry) Regulations 2020. It also wants an order issued restraining the CS from arbitrarily issuing further publications or circulars regarding the Crops (Tea Industry) Regulations 2020 which is yet to be acceded in Parliament. The case will be mentioned on December 17. Source: Nation Media