NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – Eight more people among them farmers and civil servants have been charged before an Anti-Corruption Court with conspiracy to commit economic crimes in connection with the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) scandal.
They include Caroline Kipchoge, Renson Kibet Korir, Eric Kipketel Talam, Virginia Wamaitha Njoroge, Paul Kipyego Marus, Stephen Kiprop Maiyo, Peter Chirchir and David Barngetuny Korir.
Kibet, the silo manager at NCPB, was charged with wilful failure to comply with laws and applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the management of public funds.
It is alleged that he failed to execute the functions of his office by failing to ensure funds allocated for the maize purchased for the period 2017/2018 were prudently applied towards purchasing maize from only registered and vetted farmers in accordance with NCPB guidelines on grain intake operations leading to irregular payments of Sh468,950,293.50 to Celestine Chepchirchir, Steven Kiprop Maiyo, Paul Kipyego Marus and Caroline Chepchumba.
He is accused of committing the offence between October 2017 and May 2018 at the Eldoret depot.
Kibet is further accused of neglecting his official duty by failing to put in place prudent management, checks and controls to ensure that funds are allocated for the strategic food reserve maize purchase in the 2017/2018 period were prudently applied towards purchasing maize from registered and vetted farmers.
He further faces four counts of abuse of office by using it to improperly confer a benefit of Sh297 million to Caroline Chepchumba, Sh24 million to Paul Kipyego Marus and Sh146 million to Stephen Kiprop Maiyo who are maize traders by irregularly and improperly processing payments in respect to supply of maize to the Eldoret depot while they were not registered and vetted farmers.
Caroline Kipchoge, accountant clerk – North Rift Region (NCPB) was charged with wilful failure to comply with laws and applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the management of public funds.
Kipchoge allegedly failed to ensure funds allocated for the maize purchase in the same period were prudently applied leading to irregular payment of Sh468 Million to Chepchirchir, Maiyo, Marus and Chepchumba.
Talam, the records clerk at the NCPB Eldoret depot is also accused of failing to comply with applicable procedures in processing of credit purchase advice slips without the requisite supporting documents according to NCPB guidelines leading to irregular payment to the named individuals.
He was also charged with neglect of official duty by failing to ensure that the credit purchase advice slips are supported with proper documents.
Wamaitha, a weigh bridge clerk NCPB was charged with abuse of office by altering weigh bridge tickets in favour of Chepchirchir.
Peter Chirchir, assistant agricultural officer Soy ward Uasin -Gishu County was charged with abuse of office and failing to comply with the Ministry of Agriculture and NCPB guidelines during the purchase of maize and signing vetting forms purporting to belong to Maiyo.
Barngetuny, Assistant Chief Sinonim sub-location within Uasin Gishu County was charged with abuse of office by signing vetting forms belonging to Maiyo to facilitate supply of maize
Maiyo and Marus were charged with fraudulent acquisition of Sh146 Million and Sh24 million respectively through irregular supply of maize to NCPB being public funds intended to benefit registered and vetted farmers.
They all denied the charges before Anti- Corruption Court Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo.
On Thursday, Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe, NCPB Managing Director Newton Terer and Finance Manager Cornel Kiprotich were charged with irregular purchase of Maize worth Sh5.6 billion.
They denied the charges and were released on a cash bail of Sh3 million.
Kipchoge, Kibet, Talam, Wamaitha, Chirchir and Barangetuny were each released on a cash bail of Sh150,000 while Marus and Maiyo (maize traders) were released on a cash bail of Sh2.5 million.
Five more suspects are yet to appear in court.
The matter will be mentioned on September 4, 2018.