The troubled giant Mumias Sugar Company is set to face yet another major setback when its multi-million shillings administration office block is smashed to the ground after being condemned before it was occupied.
The building which was constructed at a total cost of more than Kshs. 800 million is said to have been condemned by the National Construction Authority (NCA) after a forensic inspection and audit that found it “unfit for human occupation.”
The initial budget for the construction of the building was Kshs. 200 million but soon bloated out to more than three times the initial costs estimates to hit a high of Kshs. 800 million presided over by the former MSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and now Nairobi City County Governor Evans Kidero right from start to finish.
It was constructed by a Kakamega based construction company known as Midland Construction Ltd which is closely to Midland Emporium of the same time and completed in 2012 but four years down the road to date it has never been occupied. Midland Construction is owned by an Asian Kakamega businessman popularly known as Ramesh Shah.
While under Midland Emporium the company was mainly dealing in wholesale and distribution of a wide range of products like cement and sugar for Mumias Sugar Company that was from the 1970’s through 1980’s to the late 1990s but morphed out.
Eventually it became a supplier to Mumias Sugar of building and construction materials and among one of the first biggest projects was the construction of the controversial sugarcane weigh bridges in various parts of Kakamega and especially the Kisoko one in Busia county at a cost of Kshs. 45 million when it was valued at not more than Kshs. 2.8 million – that was reportedly constructed at inflated price just like the office block.
However following the devolution of governance structures Midland Construction hit a goldmine in the construction of roads, schools, health institutions and many other development projects particularly in Kakamega county bringing into question how and where did a wholesaler acquire construction skills to do professional jobs.
Impeccable sources from the NCA have confirmed that the office was condemned by the authority after its forensic works established that the works done on it were extremely shoddy and sub-standard and could be dangerous to the lives of the occupants therefore the entire structure has to be demolished thus going down the drain with more than Kshs. 800 million.
This is just one of the many white elephant projects that were crafted, engineered and executed by Mr. Kidero who is once again involved in multi-billion shillings scandals at City Hall and his NGO Kidero Foundation which questions of possible money laundering have been levelled against it.
Mumias sugar company has for the last four or so years been consistently posting annual losses running into billions of shillings each successive year. Its fortunes started plummeting after Kidero took over as the first Kenyan CEO from the Booker Tate Plc of London that had successfully managed it since its inception in 1976 and started posting doctored annual profits.
The situation has since been compounded by the eruption of the sugarcane poaching crisis triggered nearly five years ago by West Kenya Sugar Company also known as Kabras Millers targeting sugarcane farmers contracted to Mumias Sugar Company that nearly drove the last nail in what could be the company’s coffin despite the government bailout loans of Kshs. 2 billion whose impact is yet to be seen.
What has clearly emerged is the fact that “Evans Kidero’s ghosts” are haunting Mumias Sugar Company with a vicious deadly vengeance that the company had never experienced since its inception.
The most critical question being why did the company never post any losses since it was established in 1976 compared to other sugar companies in the countries until after Kidero took over, gutted it and left it a crumbling skeleton, a mere shadow of what it was when he took over from Errol Johnson?
The other white elephant projects that were initiated by Kidero in which the company is believed to have lost hundreds of millions of shillings include the tarmacking and street lighting of the factory road from Shibale market to the factory, the bottled water project, the Ethanol production project, the sugarcane buying centres, and the bottled water bottles supplies.
The others are the Coast province sugar factory project whose fate is yet to be made public, factory annual servicing project, the electricity production expansion project, shuttling from Nairobi to Mumias and back daily by air to work, the six Mercedes Benz limousines security motorcades for the wife from Kisumu Airport to Mumias and back, the questionable selling of the company’s Mill “B” the usage of the company’s advertising budget among many untold things.
Right from the condemned multi-million shillings project all the way through all the above mentioned projects and activities in which Mumias Sugar made losses running into billions of shillings are very critical areas that Kidero must be brought under microscopic scrutiny and forced to pay for the losses the company was forced to incur under his tenure.
That includes the false sugar exports that were purported to have been exported by Mumias Sugar when the truth was that Kidero and his cronies were indeed importing cheap sugar from Brazil and other COMESA states and repackaging it in the company’s warehouses in Mombasa as Mumias Sugar Products and in the process making billions of shillings into their pockets.
What has clearly emerged is the fact in all these projects their costings were highly inflated just like the office block’s whose initial cost was Kshs. 200 million but was inflated to more than Kshs. 800 million – can Kidero and his former lieutenants explain or justify these inflations?
Kidero must also be put under scrutiny on his sudden sources of massive wealth. What was his net worth when he left the Nation Media Group as Managing Director Nation Newspapers Division to head Mumias Sugar under highly questionable circumstances?
His dealings at the helm of the City County Government should also be brought under microscopic scrutiny more intense than what is being done at his Foundation suspected to be a money laundering outfit.
The only biggest concern is the fact the Kidero is notorious of using his massive financial might to compromise any serious threats against his person whether direct or not which brings into focus the questionable engineered trumped up accusations at the then factory manager Nashon Aseka. Kidero has many long secret stories to tell.