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MPs want Haji to prosecute culprits behind fertiliser, bags scam

DAVID MWEREBy DAVID MWERE
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The MPs have given Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji the green light to prosecute individuals behind the Sh485 million procurement scandal of subsidised fertiliser and gunny bags.

The nod by the MPs to the DPP follows the passage by the National Assembly last week of the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the audited accounts of the government for the year 2016/17, before proceeding on recess for Christmas.

On the spot are officials from the Agriculture ministry and the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), who sat in the tender committees that approved the award of the questionable contracts, contrary to provisions of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.

“The DPP should, within three months of adoption of this report, take up the matter with a view to prosecuting all those found culpable,” the report reads.

MAIZE IMPORTATION

The MPs also adopted the committee’s finding that it could not confirm whether the government actually imported maize valued at Sh11.7 billion during the period under review after Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga, the ministry’s accounting officer, failed to produce all the required documentation in support of the purported import.

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“The committee shall reopen interrogation of the matter of maize importation to its depth in order to arrive at a logical determination during review of the audited report of the financial year 2017/2018 beginning January 2020,” Committee chairman Opiyo Wandayi said.

The report noted that Sh45.4 million was spent on the 17,060 bags of subsidised fertiliser weighing 50kg, but were never delivered while Sh440 million went to the purchase of gunny bags whose delivery remains a mystery.

It was also revealed that a company contracted to deliver 182,000 bags of various types of fertiliser, each weighing 50kg at Sh456,777,550.50, did not deliver 17,060 bags costing Sh45,423,103 despite being paid for the full amount of the contract.

The Agriculture ministry did not also provide reasons for the failure by the contracted company to deliver the consignment in full.