Raila PA cleared of blame in maize saga

February 11, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – The Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister’s office Caroli Omondi has been cleared of any wrongdoing over the subsidized maize scheme, barely a day after details of an audit report were published in the media.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Senior Regional Partner and CEO, Philip Kinisu confirmed that they had been issued with documents from the Cabinet to prove that Mr Omondi acted under proper instruction in all his dealings with the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Mr Omondi had been accused of influencing the inclusion of a firm known as Afgri in the tender process to deliver maize when Kenya was facing an acute shortage, and varying the price and amount of cereal that the firm was to deliver to the NCPB.

“At the time we were doing this investigation we were not shown the evidence that the Cabinet approved the act of including this entity in the list (of procurement).  Subsequent to that, the information was made available to us.  It was actually made available to us after the information came out in the public domain,” Mr Kinisu said.

He added: “The inclusion of Afgri in the list of bidders was indeed ratified by Cabinet and there is information that has been given to us to demonstrate this.
Details of Mr Omondi’s non-involvement in any wrongdoing emerged after PwC presented the report to PM Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Finance PS Joseph Kinyua and journalists in Nairobi.

Mr Omondi was mentioned adversely in the PwC report after he declined to release any documents from the Cabinet, but it turns out he could not have done so during the investigation since he was bound by the official secrets Act.

Mr Omondi was a representative of the Office of the Prime Minister on an Ad hoc committee that had an oversight role since there were serious concerns about the capacity and integrity of the NCPB committee conducting the procurement process.

The PwC report had said: “Mr Omondi has clarified to us that in view of the urgency of the matter (to procure maize from Afgri of South Africa) he obtained immediate verbal approval for this decision from the Cabinet which was meeting that day.”

It is understood that Mr Omondi provided the full particulars of the Cabinet decisions absolving him of any blame in the procurement processes on Wednesday after getting permission from the Head of Public Service.


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