The High court has issued fresh orders in the Mumias lease saga now stopping any operations at the sugar milling plant for 10 days.
Justice Wilfrida Onkwany of the Commercial Division issued the interim orders after a suit was filed by five farmers who challenged the lease on the basis that it was undertaken in an opaque manner.
The five; Lambert Lwanga Ogochi, Augustino Ochacha Saba, Prisca Okwanko Ochacha, Robert Mudinyu Magero and Wycliffe Barasa Ng’onga also argued that the lease was awarded to the lowest bidder and there was a lack of regulatory approvals in the lease.
“The justice of this case would require that the court halts the activities and the actions that have been complained of by the applicants for a limited period of 10 days to enable respondents to file their responses,” the Judge ruled.
According to the Judge, it would serve the interest of justice to preserve the subject as the court considers all the issues that have been raised.
The Judge also allowed Gakwamba Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited to join the case as defendants after they argued they were shareholders in the sugar milling firm.
Through Lawyer Danstan Omari, the farmers had argued that they will suffer prejudice if the suit were to proceed without them.
Ugandan firm Sarrai Group and Tumaz and Tumaz Enterprises are embroiled in the lease tussle of Mumias Sugar Company.
Several cases have been filed in court regarding the lease of the sugar milling plant and in December last year, the court had suspended leases that were issued to Sarrai and Rai Group and stopped them from going on with works at the sugar milling plant.
Sarrai on the other hand has filed an application seeking to have the order suspending the lease lifted.
The application will also be heard on January 21.
Last week, Tomaz filed a contempt case against Sarrai Group accusing it of starting work at the sugar milling plant despite the existence of a court order barring them from doing so.
On Tuesday, Kakamega County moved to court and obtained an order stopping KCB appointed receiver-manager PVR Rao and Tumaz & Tumaz Enterprises, which has contested the 20-year-lease, from interfering with operations of Sarrai Group.
The order was however vacated a day after, by Justice William Musyoka who ruled that he was not informed of the December 29 order, which suspended the leasing process.