Murky Revelations Stir KTDA Ag. head Peris Mudida’s Cup of Tea

New revelations have emerged on under dealings by a top Kenya Tea Development Agency head in the tea sector.

It is said the KTDA Chief Executive Officer Wilson Muthaura, who was recently arraigned of contempt of court is fighting off fresh allegations of involvement in underworld dealings at the Mombasa Tea Auction using Chai Tea Trading Limited.

At Chai Limited, It is said Muthaura has planted one of his cronies, Simon Gikanga Mbogori as the Managing Director and Mercy, the Human Resource and Administration in charge of suspicious trading that has seen KTDA lose millions of shillings.

Reports indicate that
George Okoyo previously with Chacha Tea and Gokal Trading Kenya Limited, were both involved in Mombasa tea auction, had landed at Chai Limited as a Trading Executive, specifically to use his network with private firms involved in tea auctions at the port to help the cartel loot KTDA.

One such firm is Gokul Overseas that has been using a local subsidiary GoKal Trading Kenya Limited to buy tea from KTDA using Chai Limited in what officials have flagged as undervalued prices.

Gikanga, for the short time he has held the post of Chai MD, is not leaving anything to chance and is on a mission to make millions of shillings for himself and his godfather Muthaura.

KTDA has reportedly been irregularly importing low quality tea for low blending purposes, a move that causes artificial glut, making tea farmers earn reduced prices for their produce.

Industry players also collude to fix prices and deny small-scale farmers their earnings.

KTDA manipulates the price for the highest tea grade.

Word on the street is that KTDA sells tea to Chai Trading at a lower price than the offered price.

For example, one time the price was offered $2.61 (Sh224), the price auction being much lower at $2.05 (Sh176) per kilo, yet the destination of the market was not indicated.

Selling tea outside auction venues to some big marketers is also a common practice by KTDA’s Chai Trading subsidiary.

Chai also buys teas directly from the factories at lower prices than the auction prices and imports inferior quality teas from Asia which it blends with the Kenyan teas to export as Kenyan brands.

These teas are then shifted to traditional markets like Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, UK and lately, the United Arab Emirates, which buy through agents.

Industry players are blaming the management of the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) for being compromised by KTDA manager.

TBK’s role is to guide the development, promotion and regulation of the tea industry for the benefit of tea growers and other stakeholders, register tea factories, warehouse operators, tea packers, exporters, importers brokers and management agents.

Tea Board of Kenaya Chairman is David Mburu with directors Florence Mutembei, Mary Indeje, Kennedy Kaburi, Charles Karigwi, Josephat Gathiri, Anthony Nderitu, Michael Mandu and Peris Mudida, the acting Chief Executive Officer.

It is an open secret that powerful KTDA cartels compromised Mudida to turn a blind eye to those involved in messing up the tea sector.

At her office located at Tea Board House, Naivasha Road, money exchanges hands for one to get cleared and licensed.

Staff are openly complaining about the manner in which Mudida operates.

She constantly boasts of her closeness with KTDA Boss Wilson Muthaura and is suspected of taking advantage of the situation to push for her confirmation as TBK CEO.

Muthaura enjoys a cordial relationship with his boss, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi and always has his ear.

He has allegedly promised Mudida that he will personally talk to Linturi and deliberate on ways to smoothen and quicken her confirmation process.

Mr Muthaura was appointed as KTDA’s chief executive following the suspension of the former head, Lerionka Tiampati.

Local media reported that upon his rise to the position, Muthaura embarked on a serious witch-hunt at the headquarters by ruthlessly sending senior staff home and replacing them with his incompetent acquaintances.

This was against due process and only inspired by greed, nepotism and tribalism.

Muthaura brought on his side Acting Company Secretary Mathews Odero.

Odero, according to an insider source, is being used to pay suspicious legal fees running to millions of shillings to a number of law firms.

To frustrate those senior managers said to be sympathetic to former directors, they have employed the services of one Grace Korit alias “GK”, as General Manager, Human Resource and Administration who took over from Muthaura.

During his tenure, Muthaura has also faced accusations of sexual escapades together with a section of KTDA’s top administration.

At KTDA, staff refer to the “mean-looking” man as “Bwana Rungu”.

GK is a frequent visitor to Bwana Rugu’s office, where they spend time plotting schemes on who to be axed or kept at work based on their loyalty to him.

Senior managers in good books with the cartel are Esther Mburu, Manager of Audit and the stout roundhead “Francis Muthamia” the General Manager of Sales and Marketing and Kanja Thuku, the acting Manager of Operations.

Insiders say millions cannot be accounted for with Muthaura and cronies hiring choppers to criss-cross the country visiting factories and flying their slay queens to Mombasa whenever on tour.

The cartel controls the finance, human resources, procurement, operations, sales and audit departments.

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