Kenya: Mumias Receiver Manager Ramana Rao on the Spot Over Devki Group Deals

Embattled Mumias Sugar Company Receiver Manager Pongangipalli Venkata Ramana Rao is on the spot over his business ties with Devki Group Limited, a steel and cement manufacturing conglomerate.

Mr Rao is alleged to have facilitated the sale of scrap metal to Devki Steel Mills Limited, when he was the then receiver manager of Kwale Sugar factory.

In a damning revelation before the Senate Agriculture Committee, investigating the botched Mumias Sugar Company Leasing Bid by Devki Steel Mills Company on Wednesday, Mr Rao admitted to selling scrap metal to Devki Steels Mills Limited. He, however, denied selling a commercial project to the firm.

The Senate Agriculture Committee also faulted the Mumias Sugar Company receiver manager for failing to publicly advertise the lease process of the debt-ridden state miller, leading to firms such as Devki openly declaring interest in taking over the operations of Mumias Sugar Company.

Senators also claimed that some of the foreign companies that sent bids lacked proof of their capacity to revive the miller, raising the question of how the firms knew about the leasing without a public advertisement.

"Some of those companies that bid, most are from India and most of them don't deal with sugar. Some deal with cables and their portfolios show some have even 10 employees," Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala claimed.

Mr Rao had a hard time explaining that Devki Group had not officially placed its bid for leasing of Mumias Sugar Company, and that it normally takes upto a year to do so.

The Kakamega senator who sought clarification from the Senate Agriculture Committee on the botched Devki Group leasing process, blamed Mr Rao and Devki Group Limited, for creating confusion over the leasing process, leading to heated political verbal exchange among politicians, residents and farmers.

Senator Malala stated that Devki Limited had in the last two weeks been misleading the people of western that it had successfully won the leasing bid, thereby causing anxiety that led to demonstrations in Mumias town, yet the process had not been completed.

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