Agriculture PS Lesiyampe, six NCPB officials arrested
- NCPB Finance GM Cornel Kiprotich Ng'elechey and five other suspects were arrested alongside the PS even as 15 other senior officials and prominent traders are still being sought, according to a tweet by the EACC.
- The arrested suspects are currently being held at EACC Police Station in Integrity Centre and others at the EACC North Rift (Eldoret) office.
- They are set to be arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court to answer charges
Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, former National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) boss Newton Terer and four others have been arrested over irregular purchase of maize worth Ksh.11billion.
Detectives from the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission also arrested Cornel Kiprotich Ng’elechey and five other suspects.
15 other senior officials and prominent traders are still being sought, EACC said.
The arrested suspects are currently being held at EACC Police Station in Integrity Centre and others at the EACC North Rift (Eldoret) office.
They are set to be arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court to answer charges.
EACC Press Statement on Investigation into Allegations of Irregular Purchase of Maize worth KES 11.3B by theNational Cereals and Produce Board. pic.twitter.com/bBjNzoWCiO
— EACC (@EACCKenya) August 30, 2018
The arrests come after Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, in a statement, stated that investigations revealed NCPB spent Ksh.11,365,879,918, an excess from the Ksh.6billion that was budgeted for.
“The PS irregularly authorised the expenditure and failed to ensure that the purchase was done in accordance with the law,” reads the statement from the DPP, adding that this was contrary to the policy guidelines issued by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Other suspects in the case are former NCPB managing director Newton Terer, Caroline Kipchoge Cherono (Accounts Clerk), Benson Kibet Korir (NCPB Eldoret Silo Manager), Eric Kipketer Talam (Records Officer, NCPB Eldoret Depot) and Joseph Kipruto Cheboi (Uasin Gishu County Director of Agriculture).
They are to be charged with willful failure to comply with the law relating to management of public property, unauthorised spending of public funds, conspiracy to defraud, abuse of office and neglect of official duty.
Investigations focused on the Eldoret Depot where the largest payments were made and other depots are still under probe.
59 other officials were under investigation over suspected collusion with traders on maize importation and fertilizer theft.
In May, the Government revealed that 21 people benefited from the scandal.
According to inside sources at the Ministry, as Kenya was making a deal to buy 6.6 million bags of maize from the neighbouring country of Uganda, unscrupulous Kenyan traders rushed to Uganda and bought lots of maize at a paltry Ksh.2,000 per bag and sold them to NCPB.
It is suspected that some NCPB officials, after rejecting maize from Kenyan farmers, bought from the traders at exorbitant prices ranging between Ksh.3,000 and Ksh.3,200.
The Agriculture Ministry sources further stated that eight traders were paid Ksh.1.9 billion, money the ministry said would have paid close to 4,000 farmers.
In May this year, the PS Richard Lesiyampe appeared before a Parliamentary Committee where he absolved the ministry of any responsibility in the maize scandal.
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