MERU, August 5 – The struggling Kenya Planters’ Cooperative Union (KPCU) has written to the government seeking a Sh1 billion bail-out to resume full operations.
KPCU board chairman Kimathi Mutuerandu said the request was contained in a memorandum that they presented to the government, to help them streamline operations at the cash strapped organisation.
He said KPCU was overburdened by a Sh450 million bank loan that it had borrowed more than ten years ago, for which it still remits monthly deductions, plus more than Sh3.7 billion owed to it by farmers.
“The main problem at KPCU is money. If we got Sh1 billion, we would resume our normal operations,” he confided in Meru.
The Union boss said the money they owe to the Kenya Commercial Bank was borrowed in 1994.
At the same time, Mutuerandu revealed that forensic auditors are investigating financial transactions made by ten KPCU managers who resigned mid-last month.
He said it had emerged that some of the managers had credited Sh1.4 million to their personal accounts prior to their exit, and some crucial financial files are now missing.
Mutuerandu told journalists that the managers could be charged with fraud, and stated that advertisements have already been placed for their job replacements.
“We have engaged an agent to recruit nine staff to replace those who resigned,” said the board chairman.
He also said that huge debts owed to KPCU were as a result of the liberalisation of the coffee industry, where farmers can take their coffee to their preferred millers.
“Farmers who owed us milling money left after the liberalisation of the industry.”