CS Kiunjuri; Forget the maize, I’ll spill the beans

One man Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Mwangi Kiunjuri has come under fire over the maize scandal. The CS appeared in before the Senate this morning over the maize scandal after the his ministry was accused of undermining local farmers by using traders to import maize and paying them large sums of money at the expense of local farmers. Local farmers have not been paid money amounting to a total of Ksh. 3 billion.

The CS had previously defended himself saying that was never involved in the maize scandal at the National Cereals and Produce Board arguing that by the he joined the ministry in February of 2018, he had already received Ksh. 7 billion to pay the farmers.

“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,” he said.

According to the Agriculture CS, he only received one billion Kenya shillings on May 18 saying that more money was sent between October 5 and October 22, bringing the total amount to Ksh. 2.4 billion.

Speaking before the Senate, Mr. Kiunjuri also gave a status update on payments made to maize farmers.

Treasury officials were also grilled over the maize scandal where ministry officials confessed They admitted that illegal payments made to maize farmers and traders could be traced back to the era of duty free importation  between May and October.

“The government lost Ksh. 16.7 billion between May and October,” said Nelson Gaichuhie, CAS, National Treasury.

Mr. Kiunjuri today told the senators that the government has also paid Ksh. 1.4 billion for 152 claims under investigation. The CS said that out of the Ksh. 1.4 billion, Ksh. 429 million was given to seventy four farmers whose deliveries do not match the authorized quantities set by the vetting team.

He added that Ksh. 217 million was paid out to farmers who collected their verification forms but did not return the forms to the depot.

According to Kiunjuri, for over three million metric tonnes of maize imported in 2017/18 season, the government had already paid Ksh. 9.4 billion out of the total 11.6 billion which makes the total balance, Sh2.2 billion.

The Agriculture CS, Mwangi Kiunjuri has now shifted blame to the investigative agencies and accused them for slacking in their job over the maize scandal. Kiunjuri now claims that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) should take full responsibility for the controversial maize payments involving the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Where do you think the buck stops in this maize scandal?


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