, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday appealed for more time to “study” a report on the multi-billion maize scam that has implicated senior officials at his office, before he could give his response.
The report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was delivered to the Premier on Monday but a statement from his office said he started going through the 366-page document on Tuesday.
The report on the Implementation of the Subsidized Maize Meal Scheme at the National Cereals and Produce Board has implicated at least two senior officials at his office in the scandal. The Kenya Anti- Corruption Commission is currently going through the forensic report with a view to re-opening the probe.
“He assures the public that he will very soon make his position known once he familiarises himself with the contents and recommendations of the report,” said a statement from Mr Odinga’s office.
The scandal involves 3.4 million bags of maize sold from the Strategic Grain Reserve at a time the country was experiencing an acute food shortage and drought.
Following revelations that his officers were suspects in the scandal pressure started building on the PM to resign. Three MPs allied to PNU challenged the premier to lead by example and take political responsibility for the Sh2 billion maize scandal at his doorstep. Nominated MP George Nyamweya led the onslaught on the PM and was flanked by Kigumo’s Jamleck Kamau and Kitutu Masaba’s Walter Nyambati.
The three said Mr Odinga should do the honorable thing since senior officers at his office had been adversely mentioned in the PwC report.
“If all the above have escaped his supervision and co-ordination should he not step aside?” wondered Mr Nyamweya.
They say the move will ensure credible investigations coming hot in the heels of the PM’s insistence that beleaguered Education Minister Sam Ongeri and his PS Karega Mutahi resign over another scandal in their ministry.
“Why would he not lead by example and step aside and using his own words ‘if he is cleared he will go back to his office.’ It is time to walk the talk,” Mr Kamau said.
The MPs say Mr Odinga should also step aside for failing to supervise and coordinate ministries accordingly.
“As he said himself there is nothing personal about this – it only about principles, equity and consistency in coordination and supervision of government,” Mr Nyamweya added.