Residents criticised the company for using dangerous chemicals without regard to their health, especially children and pregnant women. (Photo: Janak Communications)
Dominion Farms property auctioned
By LAMECK BARAZA
The once multibillion-shilling Dominion Farms in Siaya is being auctioned to pay a supplier Sh27.6 million.
Ayi Onyango supplied fertiliser and tractor filters two years ago, but has never been paid.
The company is on the brink of shutting down.
Onyango, armed with a court order, on March 26 stormed the company’s premises and started selling off its property.
But this has not augured well for the firm’s 300 workers, who were laid off last year and are still waiting for Sh350 million pay arrears.
Workers’chairman Fredrick Akula said they will not allow any equipment to be auctioned before they are paid.
He said the company will not pay them if all valuable equipment and materials are sold off .
Akula said efforts to return the auctioned equipment, including tractors, failed, despite police intervention.
Siaya OCPD Ancet Kaloki refused to comment.
“Leave that issue alone. It’s a very delicate issue and even I don’t want to comment about it,” he told the Star on the phone.
Akula said they are worried other suppliers would follow Onyango’s example and the workers will be left high and dry.
Before it decided to close, the company’s management was at loggerheads with the community and the county leadership.
TUG OF WAR
The community accused the company of not living up to its end of the deal signed before it took over the Yala Swamp to grow rice.
Residents criticised the company for using dangerous chemicals without regard to their health, especially children and pregnant women.
The community also clashed with the firm when they were barred from grazing their livestock on a portion of the wetlands.
Four Siaya MCAs were sued for trespass after they demanded the firm build a road for the community as part of its corporate social responsibility duties.
The case is at the High Court in Siaya.
At one point owner Calvin Burgess accused opposition leader Raila Odinga and his family of extortion and demanding money to fund his 2017 presidential campaign.