CEO Newton Terer resigns from NCPB amid probe on illegal maize imports

Newton Terer, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cereals and Produce Board, as pictured in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on March 3, 2018. /MATHEWS NDANYI
Newton Terer, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cereals and Produce Board, as pictured in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on March 3, 2018. /MATHEWS NDANYI

Newton Terer has resigned from his position as Chief Executive Officer of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

Terer confirmed his resignation on Sunday, without giving reasons, and denied reports that he had been suspended.

"There was nothing like a suspension. I just decided to resign," he said in an SMS.

Terer took over

in June 2014

from Cornel Ngelechei, who had been serving in acting capacity for about a year.

Sources had claimed that Terer was suspended by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri.

Kiunjuri is expected to visit the NCPB headquarters on Monday to announce changes at the board.

Board Spokesman Titus Maiyo said he did not have information on the development.

"Kiunjuri will meet the board before announcing the changes," he said by phone.

Eight of the board's officials have been suspended to pave way for a probe by the EACC and the DCI.

The investigations will establish how subsidised fertiliser was diverted from the board and how unscrupulous traders filled depots with imported maize, contributing to a crisis that has left farmers desperate for their Sh5 billion pay.

NCPB Chairman Mutea Iringo confirmed that investigations were going on.

“Action will be taken against government officials involved in graft or acts which caused the problems at the board," Iringo said when he visited the depot in Eldoret on Friday.

Sources at the board claimed Terer was among top officials questioned over operations at the organisation.

Initial investigations indicate that officials may have colluded to divert more than 10,000 bags of subsidised fertiliser, which was repackaged by unscrupulous traders and sold to farmers at higher prices.

Moiben MP Silas Tiren and Kenya Farmers Association Director Kipkorir Menjo said the government should identify the brokers.

“The government knows those involved. They should be named because they have caused farmers a lot of suffering this season."

Tiren

said the farmers have faced the worst problems this year, with acute shortages of subsidised fertilizer and importation of cheap maize.

The NCPB has promised to pay them Sh1.9 billion this week for maize deliveries since last December.

The payment is part of the Sh5 billion the board owes them.

Iringo says the board has paid them at least Sh6.5 billion so far but the MP has accused the government of lying to them.

During a recent visit by Kiunjuri, Uasin Gishu

Governor Jackson Mandago publicly lashed out at Terer accusing him of laxity.

“Terer, you only come here when the CS is around. You are always in Nairobi yet your work with farmers should be out here in the field," he said.

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