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Kiunjuri Breathes Fire

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Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri has said he was not part of the Sh6 billion scandal at the National Cereals and Produce Board.

“I came to this ministry in February this year. By the time I arrived, the ministry had already received Sh7 billion to pay farmers,” he said.

“The only money I received as Agriculture CS was Sh1 billion on May 18. More cash was sent between October 5 and October 22, bringing the total amount to Sh2.4 billion,” Kiunjuri told journalists on Tuesday.

Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, former NCPB Managing Director Newton Terer and former General Manager of Finance Cornel Kiprotich were charged with seven counts arising from the NCPB scandal.

On August 30, they were released on Sh3 million bail each.

Kiunjuri said when he took over at the ministry from Willy Bett – now Kenya’s ambassador to India, he was informed that due process was followed when paying farmers in October 2017.

“The big question is, who was paid the money? When did the ministry realise it had been paying traders and not genuine farmers?” he asked.

The Cabinet Secretary said the ministry raised the red flag and wrote to the EACC and the DCI investigate the matter.

“However, I’m frustrated and disappointed at the manner and pace which the probe is moving,” he said.

Kiunjuri claimed even President Uhuru Kenyatta is disappointed and wants the matter dealt with swiftly.

The CS dismissed his haters accusing them of derailing efforts to deal with the unscrupulous payments made to NCPB.

“I assure you that when the right time comes, I will deal with you. I rest my case,” he said.

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Kiunjuri said to date 1,198 farmers have been paid, while 44 farmers have not. The unpaid farmers are claiming Sh217 million.

“Some 900 farmers have been vetted. By the close of business today, we shall have paid them,” he said.

On October 5, Kiunjuri announced that Sh978 million, out of Sh1.4 billion owed to maize farmers, had been released by the government.

He said the ministry is waiting for Sh126 million from Treasury to settle the remaining debts owed to farmers.

“Farmers have been paid Sh9,445,612,443 between October and February,” the CS said.

Kiunjuri said he has the names of 152 persons who are under investigation. He said two of them were paid during his tenure.

“The two are Anthony Kipngetich who was paid Sh8.2 million and Isaiah Kipkemei who got Sh5.7 million in June,” he said.

Kiunjuri said Kipngetich and Kipkemei were paid about Sh2 billion between October 2017 and February 2018.

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