Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe on Friday admitted that staff at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) sold sand and broken pieces of glass repackaged as fertiliser to unsuspecting farmers.
Appearing before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, the PS noted that the individuals have been charged in court bu was unable to provide documentation for the distribution of 260,905 metric tonnes of fertiliser to farmers and could not give receipts for Ksh2.1 billion subsidized fertiliser.
The PS needed to prove to the committee that indeed the fertiliser was procured, received and distributed to farmers as approved by the Cabinet to cushion the growers from exploitative market prices and admitted that it was a mistake.
“The materials required by auditors are bulky and would not even fit in this room. It is unfortunate that they have not been produced because it is imperative that we explain this expenditure,” Dr Lesiyampe said.
[caption caption="Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe"][/caption]
His statement was however challenged by Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo who noted that it had been four years since the query was raised.
It is now four years down the line and the matter is yet to be addressed. How long does it take to provide the auditors with the documentation?” Dr Amollo asked.
The lack of this vital documentation now casts doubts on whether farmers benefited or whether the subsidy programme only ended up benefiting some individuals at the ministry and NCPB, who are feared they may have colluded to pocket billions of shillings meant to improve food production.
This comes in the wake of a Ksh2 Billion scandal that was unearthed at the NCPB.
Last week, it emerged that maize from neighbouring countries was smuggled and delivered to NCPB stores at night to avoid suspicion from local farmers.
Sources indicate that there were two different queues at the Eldoret depot; one for local farmers and the other for unknown individuals.
The latter was attended to quickly as local farmers waited for weeks.
According to the Nation, most major suppliers smuggled the maize from neighbouring countries through porous border points like Suam in Trans Nzoia and delivered it in large quantities to depots like Moi’s Bridge, Bungoma and Kisumu.
[caption caption="Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri"][/caption]