A multi-agency team created to look into alleged malpractices at the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has recommended prosecution for those culpable.
Former directors and senior managers of the agency are likely to face a legal battle once the multi-agency report is made public in October. The preliminary report further recommends seizure of assets to recover lost funds.
Among issues the team was tasked with investigating are “potential price and auction manipulation, abuse of dominance, insider trading, wastefulness and breach of directors’ fiduciary duties.”
The team undertook a forensic audit of KTDA’s operational and financial systems, and reviews of procurement contracts to ascertain whether KTDA shareholders received value for money.
Commenting on the preliminary report, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya promised law enforcement action once the findings of the multi-agency team were disclosed.
“The relevant government law enforcement agencies are studying the report from the inspection team to enable them take appropriate action. Successful prosecution will lead to recovery of misappropriated assets,” he stated.
The multi-agency was formed in April after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Attorney General Paul Kariuki “to conduct an inquiry into the alleged statutory and regulatory compliance breaches allegedly committed by KTDA and its directors.”
Notably, six senior managers at KTDA were sent on compulsory leave in June, in the first meeting of the new KTDA board chaired by David Ichocho, to pave way for the audit.
They included long-serving CEO Lerionka Tiampati, managing director Alfred Njagi, company secretary John Omanga, finance and strategy director Benson Ngari and general manager ICT, David Mbugua.
Eyebrows were raised in September after Tiampati chose to resign before the completion of the probe.
Tiampati quit the company on 9th September, 2021, after leading the organisation for six years. A statement from KTDA said Mr Tiampati “applied for an early exit before the expiry of his contract” which was approved by the board.