Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri has revealed that of the Kshs 9.4 billion disbursed to NCPB by the government for the payment of maize farmers since last year, only Kshs 2.4 billion was released when he was in office, with 86% of funds transferred to NCPB done when he wasn’t the Agriculture CS and when it’s suspected traders were also paid. This comes as more questions linger on the payment of farmers, and complaints that many of them haven’t been paid persisting at the moment.
Addressing the press at Kilimo House, CS Kiunjuri said Kshs 7 billion had already been issued and that money designated to unscrupulous traders is around Kshs 2.5 billion, money which was given while he wasn’t in office. “It’s important to note that between October 2017 and February 2018, NCPB had paid Kshs 7 billion to farmers….the big question is who was paid the money? When did the Ministry realize it had been paying traders and not genuine farmers?” he posed.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has on different occasions urged the Agriculture CS to reveal the underhand deals that have led to the delayed payment of farmers, who are working hard only to see money meant for them distributed to traders. CS Kiunjuri noted that the red flag was raised in March this year, and they took the necessary action by writing to EACC and the DCIO to commence investigations, which haven’t been concluded. He said that he has availed all the necessary documents to prove the transactions done so far and has even appeared before parliament, “It tells you where the bulk stops. It’s EACC and DCIO to do their work, I’m being crucified for the sins I’ve not committed,” he said.
He added that the money which was given to traders could’ve catered fully for the farmers, who are owed Kshs 2.1 billion by the government. “The action of paying traders Kshs 2 billion was done between October and December last year. Yet if we had paid the farmers, we wouldn’t have the current frustrations,” he said. He noted that he doesn’t feel under siege and that the President has the right to feel frustrated, given the way the process has been handled.