State lines up 48 witnesses in maize case

The State has assembled 48 witnesses as it seeks to build its case against 11 suspects implicated in a multi-billion-shilling maize scandal.

The witnesses include experts drawn from various fields. Six of them are expected to testify between April 15 and April 17.

Prosecutor Joseph Riungu yesterday told Chief Magistrate Julius Ngar Ngar that the State was ready to proceed.

This even as one more suspect, who allegedly pocketed Sh102.6 million from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) in Kisumu, took her plea before the magistrate's court.

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Caroline Chepchumba (right), however, denied the charges levelled against her and was released on a Sh5 million bond with a surety of the same amount.

The court heard that Chepchumba committed the crime between October 8, 2017 and March 20, 2018 through an irregular supply of maize.

According to the charge sheet, the funds that she received were intended to benefit registered and vetted farmers.

Chepchumba is among 10 other suspects who have already faced similar charges and are each out on a Sh5 million bond.

Last month, Chepchumba failed to take a plea after her lawyer said she was not ready. The court had heard that she had been hospitalised in Nairobi for several weeks.

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In the suit, the suspects, who include NCPB officials, an assistant chief and traders, have been charged with several counts which they have all denied.

They include, Kibet Korir, a silo manager at the Eldoret depot, Laban Momanyi, a cashier at the Kisumu depot, Willy Kipkoech Kosgey, a silo manager at the Kisumu depot and his deputy Jeremiah Omutsani Omway; Thomas Sang, an extension manager, and David Korir, an assistant chief.

Others are Willie Kipkoech, who is the Kimumu ward assistant agricultural officer, as well as traders Chepchumba, Rodney Kimutai and Stephen Kiprop Maiyo.

The case will be heard between April 15 and April 17.

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State48 witnesses11 suspectsJoseph RiunguNCPBKisumu