Farmers in Rift Valley have threatened to block Eldoret roads using lorries and tractors if they are not paid by the NCPB in two weeks.
“We have talked enough and waited for eight months. We will bring our lorries and tractors and abandon them on the streets,” said farmers’ leader Christopher Kolum.
Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo said they will hold a final meeting for the farmers over the delayed payment and afterwards use other means to push for payment.
The farmers have petitioned the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to release its report on the probe into the Sh1.9 Billion NCPB scandal.
Delays in releasing the report have caused the government to suspend farmers’ payment. They are owed Sh3.5 billion by the NCPB for maize deliveries since last December.
Treasury CS Henry Rotich two weeks ago ordered the release of Sh1.9 billion to clear part of the debt to farmers, but the pay was put on hold until the report is released.
“We have petitioned the EACC to release the report so we can know who messed up,” said Moiben MP Sila Tiren. He added that the cartels which messed up NCPB with maize imports are to blame for the sugar scandal and importation of substandard fertiliser. “They want to finish this country through graft and kill Kenyans,” Tiren said in Eldoret town.
Menjo and Kenya National Farmers Union chairman Musa Barno said the EACC report should be released as soon as possible. “The delayed pay to farmers will hurt the cereals sector soon because many of them will stop growing maize,” Menjo said.
Last month, the anti-graft watchdog said it was in the final stages of investigations into the Sh1.9 billion maize purchase scam. Spokesman Yassin Amaro said a probe report will be released in about a week, which never came to pass.
Anti-corruption detectives have already questioned traders and senior staff at the NCPB allegedly involved in the scam. Several traders and NCPB managers were summoned and recorded statements at the EACC offices in Eldoret.
No crime committed?
About 10 traders listed to have been paid the money meant for farmers have denied claims of graft and insist they conducted genuine business with the board because they are also farmers.
Victoria Jebet, one of the main traders questioned by the EACC, said she is a trader and had not committed any crime at the NCPB.
Twenty-six people, including former NCPB boss Newton Terer, were expected to be questioned. EACC sleuths camped at the NCPB depots and took away files on how the board purchased more than 3.5 million bags of maize.
Terer left the board on May 20 and declined to give details of his exit. “I was not suspended but I just decided to resign,” he said.
At least Sh1.9 billion was paid to about 10 traders, while more than 3,500 farmers have yet to be paid since December. Detectives camped at depots in Kisumu, Bungoma, Kitale, Eldoret, Moi’s Bridge and Nakuru to investigate.