The woes facing struggling miller Miwani Sugar factory turned fatal after three people were killed and scores of others sustained serious injuries following an attempt by a private firm to take over the property.
Two vehicles were torched and a large swathe of sugarcane burnt in the company’s nucleus estate after an auctioneer in the company of youth armed with crude weapons raided the premises to evict workers of the miller from the property.
The company has warned of a well-choreographed fraudulent scheme by officials at the National Lands Commission to acquire the 3,000 acres of Miwani from a private developer despite it being a state project.
Through its lawyer David Otieno, the company revealed that there is already a gazette notice dated February 25, 2022 issued by the National Lands Commission chairman Gershom Otachi, seeking to controversially purchase 3,000 acres of the vast 10,000 acres Miwani Company Sugar a limited from Crossely Holdings to be used for the Kisumu Special Economic Zone.
Miwani Sugar Company has lodged an official complaint to the National Police Service after the attack.
In addition, the company through its attorney has written to the Registrar of Court of Appeal wanting the Appellate court to fast-track hearing of the case as it is of huge public interest.
It has also emerged that the purported auctioneer who brought in the over 50 goons in Miwani on Wednesday had no binding court order to execute the forceful eviction.
In October 2021, Justice Anthony Ombwayo ruled that there was no evidence presented to show that there was any fraud in the auction, and declared Crossley Holdings the valid landowner.
Miwani Sugar has since challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal, but no orders have been issued stopping execution of Justice Ombwayo’s judgment.
The judge added that Crossley Holdings was free to evict any individual occupying the land.
Additionally, the respondents in the petition were ordered to pay Crossley Holdings Sh480 million in legal costs.
On February 9, 2022 the High Court ordered Kisumu police to provide security as Crossley evicted anyone on the land.
“The county police commandant Kisumu County, county commissioner of Kisumu and the county commandant Kisumu County to provide security to enable Sparknet Auctioneers Services to effectively execute the court order given on September 30, 2021 and issued at Kisumu on October 15, 2021 – by ensuring law and order is maintained during execution,” Justice M. I. Shimenga ruled.
“The police and/or security agents are not to be involved in the execution process, but their duty is to strictly offer security to and supervise the auctioneer and further ensure that peace and order is maintained during the exercise,” the judge added.
Police complied with the court order and offered three officers to supervise Sparknet’s workers as they claimed possession of the land on Crossley Holdings’ behalf.