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Agriculture PS can’t give receipts for Sh2.1b subsidised fertilizer

By Moses Njagih | Published Sat, June 9th 2018 at 10:40, Updated June 9th 2018 at 10:46 GMT +3
Richard Lesiyampe
Principal Secretary, State department for crops development Richard Lesiyampe

The Ministry of Agriculture was at pains to explain how it procured Sh2.1 billion worth of subsidised fertiliser meant for smallholder farmers in 2014 as it has failed to produce documentation to support the procurement for the past four years.

Crop Productions Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe yesterday was taken to task by the National Assembly’s Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain why they could not produce a single document to back the procurement of the 260,905 metric tonnes of fertiliser, four years since Auditor General Edward Ouko raised the matter.

Though Lesiyampe said the fertiliser was received and distributed to farmers in the maize-growing areas, he could not produce documentation to support his claim even when challenged to do so by committee members. “We cannot proceed in the absence of the documents because how do we establish if the smallholder farmers got the fertiliser?” PAC Chairman Opiyo Wandayi said.

Committee members questioned why the Ministry had not provided the information to the auditors four years since the query was raised.

“It is now four years down the line and the matter is yet to be addressed. How long does it take to provide the auditors with documentation?” Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo asked, even as Lesiyampe faulted his staff for the delay.

Meanwhile, besieged Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki found herself at the centre of the probe by the committee after it emerged that the queries being raised arise from the time when she was serving at the Agriculture docket as principal secretary.

There have been growing demands, notably from some MPs, that the CS, who was also at the helm of the Youth Ministry during the period when the current scandal at the National Youth Service took place takes political responsibility and steps aside.

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On Thursday, five MPs warned they would initiate an impeachment motion against her if President Uhuru Kenyatta fails to kick her out.

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