Taxpayers could have lost at least Sh3.5 billion in another maize importation scam orchestrated by State officials, a new audit has revealed.
Auditor General Edward Ouko, in his latest report tabled in the National Assembly, claims that the Strategic Grain Reserve Fund imported maize at a cost of Sh34.8 billion, but records at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) only show maize valued at Sh31.3 billion was delivered.
The Fund further could not account for maize valued at Sh3 billion in its possession, after it only provided sale records for newly imported stock.
Mr Ouko also disclosed in the 2017/18 financial year report how the Fund failed to properly store 2 million 90-kilogramme bags of maize, leading to wastage of maize worth Sh4 billion.
Another consignment valued at Sh342 million also went to waste after it was contaminated with aflatoxin.
“The fund imported maize at a cost of Sh34,822,028,282. This amount, however, differs with the amount of Sh31,288,225,350 reflected in the records maintained by NCPB by Sh3,533,802,932," the report reads.
"No reconciliation or explanation was provided for the variance,” he read.
The Fund also could not account for another Sh9 billion after it failed to provide payment vouchers for imported maize, the audit concludes.
The report further exposed how the agency procured maize without the required approval system and how some traders infiltrated the system to supply thousands of bags of maize at the expense of vetted farmers.
Ouko pointed at Eldoret, Kisumu, Moi's Bridge, Kitale and Nakuru depots, where he said some individuals supplied as much as 200,000 bags without showing proof that they actually harvested such quantity of maize.
“Examination of records maintained by NCPB in the eleven sampled depots, and a review of guidelines issued by the Ministry on purchase from each individual farmer, did not reveal the maximum number of bags of maize to be purchased,” the report reads.
“Although there was not set maximum limits of maize delivery, the practicality of delivering 10,000 bags and above from a single farmer could not be verified, given the average production per acre.”
The report also raises queries over discrepancies in the number of bags reportedly purchased locally and those imported after records by NCPB showed variance.
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