Trouble for Governor Erick Mutai Over Tea Estate Deal

Kericho County Governor Erick Mutai is currently under fire over the sale deal of the tea company James Finlay Kenya Ltd to Sri Lankan Corporation.

Elders from the Kipsigis community have petitioned the County Assembly of Kericho, accusing Dr. Mutai of approving the agreement with Browns Investment PLC, a company based in Sri Lanka, without their consent.

Following a two-hour discussion with the governor and James Finlay’s top management, including Managing Director Simeon Hutchinson and Cooperate Affairs Director General Ben Woolf, the agreement was made public a fortnight ago.

When he left the meeting, Mutai said that they had reached consensus on a number of points, including the distribution of 15% of ownership shares to the local community. He declared that Browns Investment will keep the current staff, put into practice the task force and National Lands Commission’s advice for a new survey of the tea estates, and return any surplus land to the county government. James Finlay also consented to drop all legal actions.

The Governor has been charged of forsaking the community in a petition dated May 15 and signed by the chairman of the Kipsigis Community Clans Association, Paul Langat.

In order to make judgments on the global tea firms, Langat remarked, “We want the county assembly to reconsider the Governor’s decision and consult the community first.”


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