Jubilee MPs now want Uhuru's CS quit

The MPs have been branded as rebels .

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and his Moiben counterpart Silas Kipkoech Tiren, who are considered rebels, have told Mr Kiunjuri to quit, few hours after  Crops PS Richard Lesiyampe tabled names of 13 traders who were paid Sh740 million for fraudulent supply of maize to NCPB.

The two are accusing the CS of watching over the fictitious supply to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) over 10,000 bags of maize by cartels in the guise of registered farmers.

Details have emerged that at least five lawmakers and an aide to a top politician, senior Government officials and businessmen were among 30 individuals investigated in connection with a multi-billion shilling scandal at the National Cereals and Produce Board, according to the .

Prominent politicians from the Rift Valley are reportedly among eight traders paid Sh1.9 billion - which works out to Sh700 million in profits - for deliveries to the National Strategic Reserve that are believed to be cheap imports from Uganda.

“The people we are talking about are not ordinary Kenyans. They are big shots including MPs. The President has received the intelligence and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti should be on it,” said a senior Government official.

Avoided questions

Mr Kinoti did not respond to our inquiries yesterday. The payments to the influential persons were at the expense of about 4,000 farmers who are stuck with their produce. There have been claims that maize delivered by some farmers was rejected on quality grounds in a scheme to create opportunities for cartels.

The Sh1.9 billion paid to the eight farmers on average translates to Sh237,500,000 for each. At the price of Sh3,200 that NCPB paid for a 90kg bag, this means each of the eight traders would have supplied 74,219 bags.

With an estimated harvest ratio of 25 bags an acre - realistically the yield is far less - to produce 74,219 bags one would require 2,970 acres of land.

Questions have been raised about farming on eight such plantations, with reports indicating that the maize was imported from Uganda, where traders purchased a bag for Sh2,000.

Ugandan Maize

The eight traders based around Uasin Gishu – the country’s food basket - were said to have who colluded with NCPB officials, some of whom have been suspended, to earn the abnormal profits.  Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said while no money was lost in the procurement scandal, poor farmers were cheated.

“We did not lose any money but I can say we lost opportunity, which could even be bigger,” said after a conference on fighting the fall armyworm that was attended by scientists in Karen, Nairobi yesterday.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe said the board should have bought the maize of the poor farmers before entertaining brokers.

“I would not have a problem if they had finished buying all the maize from our farmers first,” said Mr Lesiyampe.

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