Top officials named in maize report - Daily Nation

Top officials named in maize report

Tuesday February 9 2010

Lorries queue to deliver cereals to the National Cereals and Produce Board Eldoret depot. PHOTO/ JARED NYATAYA

Lorries queue to deliver cereals to the National Cereals and Produce Board Eldoret depot. PHOTO/ JARED NYATAYA  

By NATION Team

At least two permanent secretaries, a parastatal boss and an official in the Prime Minister’s office are among people named in an audit report on the maize scandal.

According to the report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the officials were involved in various decisions regarding the subsidised maize programme in 2008.

One PS was accused of writing to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) requesting to help one of the applicants for maize.

‘‘In view of his position as a trustee and at the ministry, such action is tantamount to seeking to influence decision making at NCPB.’’

But the PS argued that he had been exonerated from any wrongdoing by the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC), says the report.

Another PS is accused of failing to act to ensure NCPB did not incur losses in the transactions.

The official at the Prime Minister’s office is alleged to have participated in the award of a contract to a company to supply 18,000 tonnes of maize.

The award, which the report said was initiated by the official, was outside the formal government procurement process.

The auditors also say he participated in varying of the quoted price in the tender without referring the matter to the tender committee in accordance with regulations.

The report of the forensic investigation into the implementation of the subsidised maize scheme by NCPB is being investigated by the KACC.

According to the report, an official of the cereals board is accused of authorising irregular award of the contract for the supply of 18,000 tonnes of maize outside the formal procurement process.

He is also accused of misleading the board regarding the quantity of maize awarded.

Another board official will also be investigated for failing to advise the tender committee on the legality of the suggested procurement process.

The report recommends investigations into the role of the NCPB tender committee as well its legal advisers for possible negligence regarding procurement procedures.

Legally flawed

They also propose investigations into the role of an official of the Public Procurement Oversight board who is alleged to have advised the tender committee on the best options to procure the grain.

The official is said to have suggested two options: open and direct.

“The tender committee settled on what they termed direct procurement... which was deemed legally flawed.”

However, the auditors say they were unable to interview the chairman of the NCPB tender committee on importation of maize and the manager in charge of operations who they believe would have helped their investigations.

According to the report, 10 firms were allocated maize by the NCPB in disregard of its policy.