KPCU disputes order barring it from the Sh3b coffee kitty

16th Apr, 2020
KPCU disputes order barring it from the Sh3b coffee kitty

A State agency wants a court order stopping it from disbursing Sh3 billion held in the Coffee Cherry Revolving Fund to farmers overturned.

New Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) has sought to overturn the order issued on March 26 by Justice John Makau of the High Court.

Justice Makau directed that KPCU, the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), Treasury and Ministry of Agriculture be all kept from touching the Fund.

But in a another suit, KPCU chairman Henry Kinyua claims that the order was made to the detriment of farmers.

Mr Kinyua has listed 13 grounds on which he wants Makau's order overturned. First among them is the assertion that the order will negatively impact farmers.

“Unless the order is set aside, normal operations of the union will be severally affected," Kinyua said.

"This will cause a great injustice to thousands of farmers." He further averred that the order is aimed at frustrating efforts to revamp KPCU, which was once a vibrant entity before being looted dry.

KPUC, Kinyua said, is a State corporation and a public limited liability company that needs support.

“KPCU was operationalised following the appointment of a board of directors by the president through the Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Co-operatives as per Section 6 of the State Corporation Act. It therefore needs support and goodwill in order to help farmers,” said Kinyua.

He further said the national government mooted the Sh3 billion fund and ordered it be governed by Public Finance Management regulations, 2019. Therefore, the court should have let the fund operate under such regulations instead of blocking it all together.

“There is nothing that stops the National Government from setting up specific funds to help farmers. For example, the coffee revolving fund is different from the commodity fund," Kinyua said.

KPCU, Kinyua observed, is a fully licensed coffee miller, marketer and dealer. He said the licence was granted before Makau made his ruling, which makes the ruling lose power since the entity is already recoginised by law.

"It is therefore not desirable in the circumstance of this case to consider the arguments of the March 26 ruling before dismissing it entirely," KPCU lawyers have argued.

KPCU's application comes when a section of farmers are challenging the mode of disbursement of the funds over fears that the process is being rushed. 

There were plans for farmers to get advance payment from the Fund in July to cover harvesting costs. But those plans have taken a back seat with farmers demanding that some changes should be done at KPCU before it is allowed to touch the money.

They argue that the money should have been channelled through the commodity fund and not KPCU.

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