Kenya PM denies role in maize scam

May 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 1 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s office has dismissed a report tabled in Parliament by the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources which implicated his family members in a Sh3.6 billion maize scam.

PM’s Communications Director Dennis Onyango said in a statement on Friday that the committee was settling political scores by dragging the Prime Minister into the scam.

“After spending months in luxurious hotels in the name of investigating food shortage in the country, the committee of Mr John Mututho (Chairman of the committee) has come up with conclusions that smack of vendetta, smear campaign and settling of scores,” Mr Onyango said in the statement.

The report has accused Mr Odinga of interfering with the Cabinet Food Security Committee to influence the tenders to be awarded to the highest bidder instead of the lowest.

Mr Onyango however said the allegations were made by a corruption cartel intending to tarnish the Prime Minister and his family.
“I state that the PM and his family had no role whatsoever in the food shortage, has no links with the firms that imported maize and the report is a waste of tax payers’ money and an attempt by corruption networks to use the dignity of the House to defraud Kenyans,” he said.

He defended Mr Odinga saying the government settled on three companies through competitive bidding which he noted existed even before the PM became Chairman of the food committee.

The three firms were Euroworld Commodities Limited, Senwes Ltd and Afrgi Trading Ltd.

Mr Onyango said the committee was only charged to oversee the decision of the Cabinet to import emergency food and report back to the government and it was not its duty to procure food.

Mr Onyango further alleged that MP Kambi Kazungu, who is a member of the committee, may have a personal interest after his company failed to get a tender to supply the maize.

He said his company was denied the tender after it failed to clarify where it would import the maize from.

The Agriculture Committee on Thursday tabled a report which recommended that Mr Odinga’s son, associates and personal assistant be investigated over the deal.

It further wanted the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission to investigate the procurement process and establish how the government settled on the companies that were awarded the tenders.


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