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Court to rule on Nyahururu IDPs maize scam

NYAHURURU, Kenya, Sep 3 – A Nyahururu Court will on Monday rule on whether or not relief food alleged to have been stolen from Mawingu IDP Camp should be returned to the IDPs.

About 93 bags of the maize, which were allegedly stolen from the camp on the night of July 25, are currently being held at the Ol-Kalou National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores.

While the prosecution insisted that the maize be returned to the IDPs, the defense argued that adequate evidence be provided to prove that the maize belonged to the post election violence victims.

However Nyahururu resident magistrate Caroline Obara directed that the prosecution makes a formal application over the same on Monday before a ruling can be issued.

“The prosecution should make a formal application on Monday which the defense lawyers will object if they so wish and I will make a ruling”, said Lady Justice Obara.

Mawingu camp Chairman Peter Kariuki, Treasurer Esther Kimani and camp official Martha Kagwa and have are facing charges of stealing the maize. The driver and turn boy who were caught ferrying the maize are also facing similar charges in addition to handling and being in possession of stolen goods.

Lawyers Martin Waichungo, Ndegwa Wahome and David Kaburu, are representing the accused, who are out on a Sh500,000 bond each with a surety of a similar amount.

The Court made a visit to the stores on Friday determined that the maize be retained at the Ol-Kalou NCPB until an application to return them to the IDPs was made and determined next week.
During the visit, all the 93 bags, worth Sh224,130 that the prosecution claims to be the property of the government, was physically counted.
The camp had been supplied with 800 bags of maize on July 17 which was meant to be distributed for free to the IDPs before it was stolen.

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The government has since banned the storage of relief maize in stores and all supplied maize should be shared out to the members upon delivery.

The five suspects were caught by the irate IDPs red handed offloading the maize consignment from a truck.

The IDPs claimed that they had been tipped off by a local administration police officer on the goings-on. According to the IDPs their officials and a local trader had been seen offloading the maize from a government vehicle ready to be transported to Nyeri for sale.

The IDPs added that they had been have all along suspected they were being swindled by their officials, claiming they are intimidated into silence whenever they air their grievances.

A survey conducted by the government in 2010 indicated that Mawingu was a camp in Nyandarua which has 3,308 families.

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