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NCPB on the spot over Sh2bn for cheap fertiliser

Thursday October 18 2018

NCPB managing director Newton Terer. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Former NCPB managing director Newton Terer. He ressigned in May following furore over irregular purchase and sale of maize and fertiliser. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SAMWEL OWINO
By SAMWEL OWINO
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A staggering Sh2.1 billion disbursed by the State department of Agriculture to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) as a subsidy to purchase fertiliser for farmers cannot be accounted for, the Auditor-General says.

In his report, Mr Edward Ouko says NCPB failed to provide verifiable documents for audit to confirm the actual quantity of fertiliser bought, the quality sold to the farmers and the selling prices.

The board could also not show the auditors the purchase price per bag of the fertiliser and at how much it was sold to farmers.

SUBSIDY FERTILISER

“Consequently, the propriety of the expenditure of Sh2,129,128,558 on subsidised fertiliser could not be ascertained.” Mr Ouko says in his report.

The fertiliser scam was first questioned by Mr Ouko in his 2014/2015 but a year later the cereals board is unable to prove whether Sh2,129,128,558 fertiliser subsidy was actually purchased.

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Apart from the Sh2.1 billion, the report also raises concern that taxpayers might lose a further Sh45 million in non-delivered subsidy fertiliser that was procured by the ministry of Agriculture in the 2016/2017 financial year.

PARLIAMENT REPORT

According to the report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday by Majority Leader Aden Duale, NCPB paid the amount to firms that were contracted to deliver the fertiliser but failed to deliver.

“A review of records availed for audit revealed that a company contracted to deliver 182,200 bags of various types of fertiliser each weighing 50 kilogrammes during the short rains, at a cost of Sh456,777,550, did not deliver 17,060 bags costing Sh45,423,103 in the period under review,” Mr Ouko said.

POCKETED BILLIONS

Mr Ouko said no reason was given by the cereals board as to why the firm did not deliver the consignment in full.

The cereals board has of late hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons as reports on graft are rife at the institution.

A recent internal report on NCPB indicates how well connected individuals pocketed billions of shillings at the expense of suffering farmers. The report showed how 18 “traders” masquerading as farmers shared the bulk of the Sh1.9 billion meant for maize farmers.