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MPs summon Kiunjuri, Kinyua over Sh48b maize importation

By Mercy Mwai
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga before National Assembly’s PAC, yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI
In summary
    • Presidential directive: The legislators  learn that Agriculture ministry officials used a “purported” presidential directive to incur additional expense on the importation.
    • No seal: Information tabled before the committee showed the letter was not a presidential directive as it did not bear the seal of the President, but instead it was a letter from Kinyua.

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has summoned former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to shed light on maize importation.

This is after it emerged the government spent more than Sh48 billion to import maize between 2016 and 2018.

PAC members were shocked to learn that despite the importation of the maize, the Agriculture ministry, which was undertaking the exercise, was unable to provide crucial documentation to prove that the maize was actually  delivered.

Interestingly, out of the Sh48.8 billion, Sh8 billion cannot be traced as crucial documents to support the expenditure could not be traced.

The Sh48.8 billion comprises Sh37.2 billion spent in the 2017/18 financial year and Sh11.6 spent in the 2016/17 financial year.

 “In the 2017/18 financial year, you spent Sh37.2 billion and in 2016/17 you spent Sh11.6 billion on maize imports, out of which Sh8 billion as of now remains unaccounted for and nobody can tell where it came from, who brought and at what cost?

This is not pocket money, it is a lot of money,” said PAC chair Opiyo Wandayi.

He added: “Due to this, we have resolved to summon former CS Kiunjuri because this matter involves policy issues as well as Kinyua because he is the one who chaired the task force that was involved with the importation.”

The legislators  also learnt that the Agriculture ministry officials used a “purported” presidential directive to incur additional expense on the importation of the maize, yet this was not the true position.

Information tabled

Information tabled before the committee showed that the letter was not a presidential directive as it did not bear the seal of the President, but instead it was a letter from Kinyua.

The MPs resolved to summon Kinyua, Kiunjuri, former Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) chair Noah Wekesa and National Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia to appear before them on February 24 as they are the ones who sat in the task force that sanctioned the importation.

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo asked Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga ,who had appeared before the committee, to shed light on the 2017/18 financial year whether the committee should surcharge the officials, who took part in the procurement or recommend prosecutions to those who will be found culpable.

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