MPs want NCPB to weed out unscrupulous maize traders

MPs want NCPB to weed out unscrupulous maize traders

The Parliamentary Agriculture Committee has urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation to audit and vet all farmers across the country to weed out unscrupulous maize traders.

In its recommendation, the Committee wants the Agriculture and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to stop further payments by National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to farmers until a proper vetting process is accomplished.

“As part of the clean-up exercise in the NCPB. We recommend that farmers be vetted afresh to establish their authenticity and the ministry of Agriculture to allocate sufficient funds to facilitate the process,” Committee Chairman Adan Ali Haji Sheikh said in an interview with the People on Thursday.

Mr Haji lamented that genuine farmers continue to be disadvantaged as they are always overlooked by NCPB.

The Agriculture Committee which has been investigating the NCPB scandal, yesterday learnt that about eight crooked maize traders pocketed Sh 1.4 billion at the expense of real farmers. The amount is enough to pay about 1,000 farmers.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri while appearing before the committee yesterday exposed how each trader used their ID cards to make hundreds of deliveries to the Eldoret, Kisumu and Nakuru depots within three months.

“Only eight of them had been paid about Sh1.4 billion. That was enough cash to pay more than 4,000 farmers. If they could have paid the genuine farmers and pay the traders later, these complaints from farmers would not have been there,” Kiunjuri said.

According to Kiunjuri, Celestine Chepchirchir a trader made 786 deliveries within 102 days, delivering a total of 226,108 bags of 50kg each. She was paid Sh333 million.

Kiunjuri told MPs  that Chepchirchir used ID card number 13207544 but the records show that she made the deliveries using the names Stephen Maiyo and Stella Chepkorir.

“This means she made seven deliveries to the depot per day. How could a depot manager allow any individual to make 786 deliveries without raising the alarm, yet we had issued them with clear guidelines?” Kiunjuri asked.

But now Adan (pictured) insists that wants all those mentioned in NCPB scandal to be shown the door and proper legal action taken against them.

“As a committee, we want all those found culpable to be brought to book. The ministry should not leave any stone unturned,” the Mandera South legislator reckoned.

The MPs also proposed to the National Cereals and Produce Board to upgrade the Weigh bridges system countrywide as some of them had been manipulated to benefit brokers and unscrupulous businessmen.

The suspected interference of the weighbridges used to detect the number of kilos brought in by traders at the NCPB depots may have led the government to lose lost billions of shillings and declaring the quantity of maize that it does not have.

The Chairman noted that in their fact finding missions across the country some of the weigh bridges in Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru and even Mombasa were found to be tampered with.

“During our visits, it was alleged that corrupt maize dealers had compromised the configuration system to benefit themselves during their deliveries to NCPB, the ministry must find a way to make, the weighbridges tamper prove,” the committee chairman concludes.

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