The corrupt DCs and DOs would issue Lokopir with a signed Form S11 authorising him to get the maize from the Lodwar National Cereals and Produce Board ( NCPB) depot. The Form S11, we established, is a blank cheque given to DCs and DOs to plunder relief food.
All it takes is just a signature and a stamp from the DCâs office and the food is released by the NCPB to the bearer of the form. Lokopir pauses from the interview and calls a DO on speakerphone, informing him that he has a buyer who intended to buy relief food. The DO, unaware he had quit the trade, asks Lokopir to tell the buyer to wait till the next day as they were awaiting supply of maize.
Although NCPB spokesman Evans Wasike denied involvement of the board in the scam, Lokopir reveals some corrupt board officials at the depots were culpable.
"They are aware of what is going on. How can I take the Form S11 to them and they give me 200 bags yet I am not a Government employee?" he posed. A civil servant based at Lodwar who sought anonymity broke it down for The Standard On Saturday saying theft of the relief food is easy to execute.
Loopholes in distribution
He reveals the provincial administrators take advantage of loopholes in the distribution to steal and sell them, raking in millions. "Information about how much food a district receives only gets to the DC, so only he, the NCPB officials, and the Ministry of Special Programmes know how much is received as relief food," he said.
The senior official said the DC, DOs, and NCPB officials then collude to divert huge quantities of the food meant for needy residents without their knowledge.
"So, if Kerio in Turkana Central for instance is to get 500 bags, only 200 bags are taken there. The rest is embezzled," he added. The other loophole is the constant lack of transport to ferry the food to far-flung areas.
" Turkana County is expansive yet we do not have trucks. We rely mostly on National Youth Service (NYS) trucks occasionally given to us to ferry relief food," said the official.
He said when the NYS trucks are withdrawn, relief food is stored at NCPB depots awaiting transportation. "The waiting provides a perfect chance for theft as they pile," said the official.