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EACC arrests five NCPB officials, assistant chief over Sh5.6bn maize scandal

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Five NCPB officials, an assistant chief, and a trader have been arrested by EACC sleuths probing the loss of Sh5.6 billion at the cereals board. 

The seven are set to be charged in court on Tuesday.

Investigative agencies are probing the loss of Sh5.6 billion in questionable payments for maize delivered to the National Cereals and Produce Board.

They are Kisumu silo manager Willy Kipkoech, deputy manager Jeremiah Omutsani, cashier Laban Momanyi, and Eldoret silo manager Renson Kibet Korir.

Others are Sio ward extension officer Thomas Kipkurgat Sang, Sinonim assistant chief David Barngetuny Korir, and trader Rodney Kimutai.

Also being sought in relation to the Kisumu case are traders Victoria Jebet, Caroline Chepchumba, and Stephen Kiprop. 

EACC has been conducting investigations at the NCPB’s depots in Kisumu, Bungoma, Kitale, Eldoret, Moi’s Bridge, and Nakuru.

Related: EACC grills traders, NCPB staff linked to Sh1.9 billion maize scam

From the depots, officers have seized files on payments for maize and distribution of subsidised fertiliser.

DPP Noordin Haji said the investigations around Kitale, Bungoma, Mois Bridge, and Ziwa depots are ongoing. 

For the Kisumu case, the DPP said the probe established that NCPB officials, agricultural officers, and chiefs colluded with traders to facilitate delivery of maize to the depot. 

“The supplies led to fraudulent payments to traders, much to the detriment of genuine farmers,” Haji said. 

“As a result, two traders revealed to have supplied a total of 149,207 50kg bags of maize worth Sh262,527,390. A Caroline Chepchumba was paid Sh102,660,426 while a Stephen Maiyo was paid Sh7,740,975.”

The suspects will be charged with conspiracy to commit an economic crime, willful failure to comply with law relating to management of public property, abuse of office, neglect of official duty, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, and dealing with suspect property. 

“Investigations have additionally established that various tax offences were committed. The findings have been referred to the Kenya Revenue Authority for appropriate action,” Haji said in a press statement. 

So far, Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe and NCPB finance manager Cornel Kiprotich Ng’elechey are out on Sh3 million cash bail.

They denied charges of wilful failure to comply with law relating to management of public property, unauthorised spending of public funds, conspiracy to defraud, abuse of office, neglect of official duty, and fraudulent acquisition of public funds.

Read: [VIDEO] EACC arrests PS Lesiyampe, NCPB finance boss over Sh6bn maize scandal

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