CS Kiunjuri blames predecessor for illegal maize payouts
- Kiunjuri, who has been on the receiving end of President Kenyatta's ire twice in a week, said that most of the monies were paid before he assumed office seeming to finger former CS Willy Bett.
- The CS said that Ksh.2.5 billion is suspected to have to been paid to "unscrupulous traders" stressing that this was done in the first batch of payments which happened in February.
- However, the CS revealed that he too is not without sin as two farmers were illegally paid while he was in office.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri has come out to defend and absolve himself from the blame game over the delayed and irregular payments to maize farmers.
Kiunjuri, who has been on the receiving end of President Kenyatta’s ire twice in a week, said that most of the monies were paid before he assumed office seeming to finger his predecessor Willy Bett.
“To this far we have paid, Ksh.9.4 billion, of this, Ksh.7 billion was paid or released by the government before I assumed office or properly assumed office because those funds released in February were not paid the same day but the monies had been released,” said the CS.
The CS said that Ksh.2.5 billion is suspected to have to been paid to “unscrupulous traders” stressing that this was done in the first batch of payments which happened in February.
“The monies suspected to have gone to unscrupulous traders; the first tranche was that paid to 152 traders which constitute Ksh.2 billion and we are yet to pay another 1.4 billion but we have another 74 farmers we are suspicious of whom we paid another Ksh.500 million and we are yet to pay them their balance of Ksh.419 million. Roughly, we have paid Ksh.2.5 billion to traders.”
The Cabinet Secretary said the 152 were under investigation and action had been taken on those suspected to have been involved.
According to Kiunjuri, the Head Office Finance Manager, operational and assistant managers, clerks in the North and South Rift have since been suspended noting that the former Managing Director is in court to answer to graft charges.
Mr. Kiunjuri said that if the payments were regularly done and directed to farmers, the issue would have been sorted early this year.
“This Ksh.2 billion was paid between October and December. If we really paid farmers, today, we could not have been having the frustration, we could have cleared with the farmers,” Kiunjuri said.
“But if you go back, it would have been very clear that by February of this year, we could have been able to clear all farmers, the outstanding monies.”
However, the CS revealed that he too is not without sin as two farmers were illegally paid while he was in office.
“I have names of 152 persons under investigations, of those, two were paid during my tenure in the Agriculture Ministry: Anthony Kipng’etich was paid Ksh.8.2 million and Isaiah Kipkemei was paid Ksh.5.7 million,” he said.
CS Kiunjuri said 514 farmers out of 900 have received up to 91% of the amount they were claiming adding that the remainder was to be cleared by close of business Tuesday. He said he has requested Ksh.126 million from the Treasurer to pay the balance.
He further said the ministry is yet to pay Ksh.217 million owed to 44 farmers who collected verification forms but failed to return them to their respective deports in time while 74 farmers won’t be paid as their deliveries don’t match the authorised quantities by the vetting body.
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