Gang steals coffee worth millions in Kirinyaga


Gang steals coffee worth millions in Kirinyaga
A worker sorts coffee berries at a factory in Kienjege, located in western Kirinyaga county, northwest of Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

In Summary

  • Police in Kirinyaga County are investigating an incident where a gang of over 10 men stole bags of coffee worth millions of shillings at Kiandieri coffee factory on Monday morning.
  • According to Kiandieri coffee factory chairman Daniel Kibanya, the incident happened at around 3am.
  • Mr. Kibanya said the alleged robbers tied the watchmen manning the facility and moved them to unknown location before carrying out the robbery.

Police in Kirinyaga County are investigating an incident where a gang of over 10 men stole bags of coffee worth millions of shillings at Kiandieri coffee factory on Monday morning.

According to Kiandieri coffee factory chairman Daniel Kibanya, the incident happened at around 3am.

Mr. Kibanya said the alleged robbers tied the watchmen manning the facility and moved them to unknown location before carrying out the robbery.

He further said stolen coffee bags were stored at the facility after farmers had a dispute with the management over millers to process the coffee where one group wanted Tropical millers and the farmers wanted Central millers.

“There was a dispute over where to process the coffee, I called a meeting where we all agreed to take the coffee to Central millers,” Kibanya said.

Angry farmers led by Daniel Wachira wondered why the coffee had not been moved as agreed in their previous meeting, terming the act as a delaying tactic.

“The group that wanted the coffee to be moved to Tropical millers managed to win the dispute that had erupted earlier on, and we all agreed that the coffee was to be moved by last Friday,” Wachira said.

Kiandieri farmers accused the management of failure to guarantee security at the factory as recommended by Kirinyaga County Commissioner Samson Ojwang.

They further called for the immediate arrest of the management and the two watchmen on duty.

Last week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i ordered a crackdown on coffee theft cartels said to be terrorising farmers in Central Kenya.

“We have received so many complaints from co-operative societies and individual farmers; it’s clear this epidemic has reached chronic proportions, and we can no longer make excuses in addressing this and other contextual security issues,” Dr. Matiang’i stated.

Matiang’i said his ministry is investigating a clique of officers colluding with cartels in the region to take advantage of coffee farmers ahead of the harvesting season which begins in November and stretches to January.

“Theft of coffee has almost gone out of proportion. We are going to work on a ruthless operation to sort this thing out,” Matiang’i said.

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