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EACC probes Kenya Seed’s Sh145 million tender to Syngenta

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Farmers buy seeds from a Kenya Seed Company outlet in Eldoret. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The anti-corruption agency has launched a probe into alleged procurement irregularities in Kenya Seed Company Sh145million tender to Syngenta East Africa Limited.
  • The probe by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is fresh trouble for former Kenya Seed board members, including ex-chairman Nathaniel Tum.
  • The anti-graft body has summoned members of the board of directors over the irregularities for the supply of seed treatment chemical to Syngenta East Africa Limited during the 2018/2019 financial year.

The anti-corruption agency has launched a probe into alleged procurement irregularities in Kenya Seed Company Sh145million tender to Syngenta East Africa Limited.

The probe by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is fresh trouble for former Kenya Seed board members, including ex-chairman Nathaniel Tum.

The anti-graft body has summoned members of the board of directors over the irregularities for the supply of seed treatment chemical to Syngenta East Africa Limited during the 2018/2019 financial year.

In a letter addressed to Kenya Seed company and signed by Maleya Omondi on behalf of the chief executive Twalib Mbarak, the EACC is questioning the payment of Sh145million to Syngenta East Africa Limited.

“Kindly furnish us with original documents in relation to the Tender No. KSC/T/STC/12/2018/2019 . . . the contract agreement for supply and delivery of insecticide for Kenya Seed maize treatment on direct procurement between Kenya Seed Company Ltd and Syngenta East Africa Limited,” reads part of the four-page letter.

Those to be grilled by the EACC detectives at the North Rift regional office in Eldoret are Dr Tum, Wilkister Simiyu, Nathan Anaswa, Symon Cherogony, Dr Johnson Irungu Waithaka, Abraham Koech, Peter Waweru, Dr Winnie Macharia, Lawrance Njiru and Richard Aiyabei.

Two of the directors appeared at the EACC regional offices yesterday while the rest are to be grilled today and tomorrow.

The firm has in the recent past faced numerous boardroom wars and legal tussles over administrative issues.

Early this year, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya in special gazette, appointed Francis Okwara as the new board chairperson and Alice Chesire, Gitonga Kamiti, Kipkorir arap Menjo, and Samuel Mecca, as board members of the seed firm for a period of three years.

At same time, CS Munya revoked the appointments of Dr Samson Chelule, Elsbeth Naeku Tolu and Muchohi Ruiru Gikonyo.

However, Dr Tum and other officials moved court to challenge the appointment of the new board members.

In March this year, the Moi-era directors staged a fresh boardroom coup at the company as they sought to wrest control of the firm from the government.

Private shareholders of the seed firm led by Mr Tum summoned an annual shareholder meeting with the intention of appointing new directors, hiring a chief executive and declaring dividends for the past six years.

Dr Tum, Soet Kenya Limited, Paul Kandie, Symon Cherogony, Francis Musau Ndambuki and Libese Levis Sagala filed the suit challenging the appointment of the new directors.

Mr Tum was controversially removed as CEO in 2003 following revelations that he had irregularly transferred ownership of the firm to the family of former President Daniel arap Moi.

The battle for control of Kenya Seed has also been in and out of court for years -- including Mr Tum’s 2014 attempt to oust government-appointed directors through a shareholder meeting.