Sony Sugar has new Managing Director, Martin Ogola Dima appointed

At long last Martin Ogola Dima can now take over as the new substantive Managing Director of South Nyanza Sugar Company Limited after the Court cleared him free of guilt.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kisumu threw out a suit challenging his recent appointment by the firm’s Board of Directors chaired by Jared Kopiyo.

Dima received his appointment letter, but he was immediately blocked from taking office after a petitioner Bernard Ouma moved to Court and challenged his appointment.

Ouma alleged that the Board chaired by Kopiyo contravened the employment laws on recruitment citing conflict of interest in the interviewing and shortlisting of candidates for the position.

He wanted the exercise annulled and repeated, but all his prayers were rejected by the Employment Court that found the hiring procedures done within the legal parameters of the law.

Sony Sugar Company Board of Directors termed the new recruitment drive done in December 2023, as free and fair, even Ouma claimed stakes and interests at the board were very high.

Out of the 14 shortlisted candidates, Dima emerged top, followed by Samson Aliton Okello, and Kennedy Riaga third respectively.

Others who were shortlisted and did not make it were, immediate former MD Stephen Ligawa, current acting MD James Oluoch, who will now hand over to Dima on tomorrow.

Others were Risper Olick of ICPAC, Dr Moses Owino, Samwel Anyanga, Joshua Oluoch, Stephen Ojanga, and Mogeni Ongera.

Justice Stephen Radido ruled that the petitioner failed to neither prove his case to the required standard nor found no merit for the case to be full litigation.

Consequently, the judge dismissed it with no cost since it was brought to the public odium and was of interest to many stakeholders including thousands of cane farmers in the Sony sugar belt.

Yesterday, Kopiyo confirmed the Board appointment of the new MD Dima. “We will install him now.”

Attorney General, Justine Muturi, was among the respondents in the case. In February this year, the board appointed Oluoch to act as the MD in the place of  Stephen Ligawa who proceeded on a prolonged annual leave.

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Oluoch is the Head of the ICT department, while Ligawa served as the Factory Manager before his elevation to act as an MD for over five years unconfirmed.

He is likely to revert to his former post same as Oluoch, although some staff in the line of seniority had been promoted to act in their places but not confirmed yet.

Ligawa is credited for lifting the company from the ‘financial doldrums’ having picked it at a time when the firm was almost collapsing.

He revived it and bought new equipment which he used to repair the firm and bring it back to near stable financial footing, before the new Board came into place to make new changes.

It was not immediately established why the Board had sent him on long leave. Ligawa had taken over from Benard Otieno. He has been acting for long without being confirmed.

Otieno was hounded out of office over an alleged sugar import scandal, a matter still under investigation.

Since 2017, Sony MD’s position has been shaky, thus affecting its management stability, with those elevated to the post not confirmed on permanent and pensionable terms.

This made it cumbersome to make cogent decisions to run the miller, currently battling hefty wage bill, faced with erratic supply of cane, and huge debts owed to farmers and suppliers.

It is now hoped that the new MD Dima, who has worked at the County Public Service Board as a member, at the KCB bank and as a Chief Officer of Finance at the Migori County would sort its financial woes as a career banker.

Sony at the moment is indebted to the tune of over KSh2 billion.

President William Ruto has called for the divestiture of the firm and in particular commercialization of the state owned Mills, Sony inclusive to make them make profits.

By our reporter

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