Mother and her two daughters charged over Sh5.6 billion maize scandal

A section of suspects in NCPB scandal at a Milimani anti-corruption court on September 3rd, 2018 when they were charged with the offence. From left to right is Carolina Chepchumba, Victoria Jebal Rotich, Celestine Chepchirchir, Kipkoech Sang and Director of Agrculture at Uasin Gishu County Joseph Kipruto Cheboi. [George Njunge, Standard]
A mother and her two daughters were among five more suspects charged in relation to the Sh5.6 billion maize scandal.

Victoria Jebet, 60, and her two daughters – Celestine Chepchirchir and Caroline Chepchumba – appeared before Milimani Anti-corruption Magistrate Felix Kombo accused of receiving Sh297 million illegally.

Chepchirchir, who works at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, was accused of illegally receiving Sh294 million, and wiring Sh181 million to her mother.

Jebet, a farmer, had opened up after the scandal erupted saying she bought maize from distraught farmers who had queued for days at NCPB silos without their produce being taken by the Government's agency.

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“Between October 17, 2017, and March 31, 2018, Victoria Jebet in Eldoret Town, Uasin Gishu County, received Sh181 million from Chepchirchir, believed to have been corruptly acquired through irregular supply of maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board,” the charge read.

Chepchumba was alleged to have received Sh3 million from sale of maize. She, too, was said to be a trader and not a farmer.

Joseph Kipruto and Willie Sang, both NCPB employees, faced separate counts relating to the maize saga. Kipruto, a director of agriculture in Uasin Gishu County, was alleged to have failed to vet farmers before they supplied the maize.

Sang, a ward officer at Kimumu, Usain Gishu County, was also accused of failing to vet those who supplied maize.

The suspects pleaded not guilty and were released on bail. Kipruto and Sang were each released on Sh150,000 cash bail.

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Chepchirchir was released on Sh2 million bail and surety of a similar amount or a Sh750,000 cash bail.

Her mother was ordered to pay a Sh2.5 million bail while her sister was released on Sh1.5 million bail or Sh1 million cash bail.

The case will be mentioned today.

NCPB was found to have spent Sh11,365,879,918, to "pay farmers", which is Sh6 billion more than what was budgeted for.

Maize scandalNCPB scandal