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Antigraft agency questions six top NCPB officials in North Rift over maize scam

Agriculture secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri.
Agriculture secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has interrogated six senior National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) officials from the North Rift region over the Sh2 billion maize scandal.

The senior managers and key staff from the six depots are suspected to be involved in the smuggling of cheap maize from Uganda that was delivered to the board’s buying centres.

EACC deputy director in charge of North Rift Jackson Mue on Tuesday said 70 per cent of the Sh2 billion lost was transacted in the six depots in the western Kenya region.

“We have compiled a list of officers and farmers suspected to have been involved in the scam and their names are to be made public tomorrow,” said Mr Mue, adding they will be arraigned in court soon to face charges.

The targeted NCPB depots are Eldoret, Moi’s Bridge, Kitale, Bungoma, Kisumu and Nakuru.

“More NCPB staff and farmers are to be interrogated and if implicated, they will be arraigned in court to answer charges of misuse of public funds,” added Mr Mue.

Prompt payments

According to the official, the scandal involves several individuals who delivered the cheaply imported maize to NCPB depots at night and received prompt payment.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has admitted that some powerful individuals were behind the maize scam.

He has, however, maintained that the officials are not in his ministry and has promised to table an audit report on the scam’s beneficiaries.

Leaders from the North Rift region have demanded an independent audit to determine the quantity of maize delivered to the depots.

Led by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and his Moiben counterpart Sila Tiren, they said the audit will expose individuals behind the maize mess.

This come as maize produce worth millions of shillings is going to waste in the North Rift region due to lack of market after the government suspended buying the crop from farmers.

Several tonnes of the crop have been attacked by pests and moulds due to lack of proper storage facilities as farmers struggle to find market for the produce.

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