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February 21, 2019

Senate ad-hoc committee to probe Sh1.9bn NCPB scandal

In this file picture, National Cereals and Produce Board workers inspect old maize stocks at the Eldoret depot.
In this file picture, National Cereals and Produce Board workers inspect old maize stocks at the Eldoret depot.

A Senate ad-hoc committee has recommended a two-month investigation on the maize crisis in Kenya.

Chairperson Margret Kamal said they will investigate the Sh1.9 billion scandal at the National Cereals and Produce Board. Management and distribution of seeds and fertiliser will also be probed.

"We will compile a comprehensive report on legislative proposals to address the ailing National Cereals and Produce Board," she said while briefing the media at Parliament buildings on Wednesday.

She said the committee will look at the criteria for identification of millers and business people involved in the importation of maize.

"We will propose a way of collaboration with the two arms of the government on the management of grain reserves [and seed and fertiliser proceeds," she said.

The rot at the National Cereals and Produce Board was laid bare, exposing how well-connected cartels are minting billions at the expense of farmers.

Just days after Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri kicked off a grand house cleaning at the NCPB, an internal ministry report smoked out 18 unscrupulous traders suspected to have links with powerful people.

The traders masquerading as farmers were vetted and rejected, rekindling memories of the maize scandal that rocked the country in 2010.

Eight farmers, seven from the Eldoret depot, will pocket Sh873.2 million. They already have received Sh607,764,171.

The report says, for instance, Celestine Chepchirchir — not a registered farmer — delivered 226,108 bags of 50kgs to Eldoret and was paid Sh333 million.

She is yet to be paid Sh62.1 million.

Producing 226, 108 bags is a nearly impossible for one farmer because it requires almost 11,305 acres, nearly twice the size of some constituencies.

More on this: Inside story of the NCPB maize scam

Also read: MP Sudi to DCI: Publish names of politicians behind NCPB Sh1.9bn maize scandal

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