CS Kiunjuri maintains no money was lost at NCPB
The Ministry of Agriculture quashed pre-existing concerns on the loss of billions to illicit maize traders saying, all funds meant at buying maize to replenish government reserves had met their course.
The ministry did however admit to the infiltration of the agricultural traders by unscrupulous traders were found to have sold on maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) through illegal channels.
Speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the activities of the alleged illegitimate traders only meant a loss to the opportunities in place for domestic maize producers.
“Every coin was used to purchase maize so the issue of losing money does not exist. Farmers however lost the opportunity to sell maize to the board,” Mr Kiunjuri said.
In response to the infiltration of cartels at the NCPB, the ministry outlined that measures were in place to weed out the syndicates with the CS insisting that all was under control at the ministry.
“My work is to clean up the issues, and I am going to clean them up. They might be consequences but we will continue. They may run but they cannot hide. After cleaning up the NCPB, I will move to the Kenya Meat Commission, we can’t continue with this kind of impunity,” he stressed.
59 NCPB officials have so far been suspended and summoned to answer to collusion allegations with rogue traders by the ministry, three of whom are regional managers from Western, North and South Rift regions.
Former NCPB managing director Newton Terer is one of the key individuals the spot regarding the matter.
Mr Terer resigned from his post on May 20 in the midst of a probe on illegal maize imports with no reasons given.
The Ministry of Agriculture will now progress with the settlement of debt accruing to farmers with Sh1 billion being disbursed to pay up to 3,200 farmers by the end of the month.
The funds are part of the Sh5 billion owned to farmers for the delivery of maize to the grain corporation for the period up to December 2017.
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