Former CS Willy Bett on the spot over maize fiasco


Willy Bett
PICTURE COURTESY

In Summary

  • National Treasury CAS Nelson Gaichuhie apportioned the blame on the ministry of Agriculture under Bett.
  • According to Gaichuhie, the CS failed to specify in his gazette the quantity of maize to be imported and traders to be involved
  • The government had budgeted for importation of 6 million bags of maize but on Wednesday CS Mwangi Kiunjuri revealed that traders shipped in 10.4 million bags of maize.

Kenya’s Ambassador to India Willy Bett has become a person of interest for some MPs after he was blamed for apparent mistakes that contributed to the 2017 maize importation fiasco.

The senate committee on agriculture is now being asked to invite the former CS to shed more light on his actions.

On May 12, 2017, IVS Pinehurst Manila docked at the Mombasa port loaded with 33,000 metric tonnes of Mexican maize imported by a consortium of millers.

The arrival of this ship left the then CS for Agriculture Willy Bett literally with a smile on his face.

Kenyans were then chocking over the high prices of maize flour and the duty free importation of maize had been given a nod to save the situation.

“Now going forward we are going to see a reduction of the maize flour prizes,” pledged the former CS Willy Bett.

But decisions by former CS Bett have now come into question more than a year later.

Under his watch, traders and millers imported cheaper grains from across the borders, flooded the market and sold it to NCPB in the name of farmers, raking in billions of shillings in profits.

Since the saga broke, Willy Bett’s name keeps popping up and his successor Mwangi Kiunjuri has appeared to throw him under the bus over the illegal dealings in the ministry.

“I came to this ministry in February this year. By the time I arrived, the ministry had already received Ksh.7 billion to pay farmers,” said Mwangi Kiunjuri – CS Agriculture.

“It’s just obvious Bett was everything wrong at the ministry of Agriculture,” said  Alfred Keter- MP, Nandi Hills.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, National Treasury CAS Nelson Gaichuhie apportioned the blame on the ministry of Agriculture under Bett.

According to Gaichuhie, the CS failed to specify in his gazette the quantity of maize to be imported and traders to be involved

The government had budgeted for importation of 6 million bags of maize but on Wednesday CS Mwangi Kiunjuri revealed that traders shipped in 10.4 million bags of maize.

The senate and national assembly committees on agriculture are separately investigating the matter and have planned to bring in the man who might just have the answers, Willy Bett.

Bett is currently Kenya’s ambassador to India.

 

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Story By Enock Sikolia
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