Parliament has ordered a forensic audit on the recent procurement of maize by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) in which 18 traders were paid more than Sh1.2 billion.
The National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) directed Auditor-General Edward Ouko to carry out a special audit after learning that he is not part of the current team that has been set up by the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct independent verification on the amount of maize procured and payments so far made.
“I am surprised that despite the current maize fiasco, the NCPB has not seen it prudent to request the Auditor-General to conduct a special audit on the maize scandal.
“I am now directing the office of the Auditor to conduct a special audit on this matter. We are seeing traits of same effects of what has been happening at NCPB before and we don’t want taxpayers to lose more money,” Abdulswamad Nassir, who chairs PIC, said.
Peter Rugera, the audit manager in charge of NCPB at the Auditor-General's office told PIC that the office of the Auditor-General has not conducted any audit on the recent purchase of maize from farmers.
“As we speak, there is no audit going on at NCPB with regards to the purchase of maize. We have not been contacted to carry out any audit,” he said.
An internal audit report released by Crop Development principal secretary Richard Lesiyampe three weeks ago shows that NCPB paid 18 maize merchants, who failed its vetting, a total of Sh1.05 billion.
Preliminary findings on the purchase of maize to replenish the Strategic Food Reserves indicate that eight traders out of the 18 pocketed a total of Sh607.8 million.
The eight traders supplied 427,784 bags of 50kg maize to NCPB’s Eldoret depot and have so far been paid Sh607.8 million, leaving a balance of Sh265 million.