Fertiliser scam: Allan Namu to name politicians who sought cover-up

Africa Uncensored CEO Allan Namu when he appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee over the Controversial Fertilizer at Parliament on April 2, 2024 [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Powerful politicians reached out to a journalist to have an investigative story on the fake fertiliser scandal dropped.

Appearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday, John Allan Namu of Africa Uncensored said investigative agencies should look for complacency among senior officials of key government agencies.

He said it was a matter of concern that the issue did not raise concern among relevant actors all this time.

“I would like to inform this committee that politicians across the political divide might have been involved in this fake fertiliser conspiracy, some even reached out to me seeking to have African Uncensored not to air this story where the majority of those affected are small scale farmers,” said Namu.

He said he was ready to provide evidence about the politicians who approached him to kill his story, and was ready to appear in court. He told the committee the report looked at public procurement since 2018 and that the fake fertiliser scandal cut across the previous and current administrations.

Committee chairman Kirinyaga Senator James Murango said Agriculture Cabinet Secretary  Mithika Linturi and the chief executive officers of Kenya Bureau of Standards and Kenya National Trading Corporation will appear before it to shed light on prevalent claims of fake farm inputs.

Murango said the Auditor General, National Environment Management Authority CEO and the individuals mentioned adversely in an expose launched by media investigations team; the African Uncensored, have been invited to appear before the committee to clear the air about the well-executed scandal.

“This is a very serious matter unlike doctors and advocates whom we may need several times in a year, we need farmers every day since they provide food to us, we cannot afford to allow a few unscrupulous individuals to get away with the fake fertilizer scandal,” said Murango. 

He said the scandal was embarrassing since it makes Kenya look like a country where few individuals are out to enrich themselves through ways akin to terrorism. He said the scandal is a threat to food security and action must be taken.

Namu told the committee that Kebs and Nema have no capacity to deal with the fake fertiliser scandal since they have staff shortages. He said that creates a lapse which some unscrupulous individuals have exploited.

The journalist said he has now been vindicated by the current outcry by Kenyans from various parts of the country. “I would like to tell my fellow journalists that they should not be cowed when they are pursuing stories of public interest like the one we did on fake fertiliser, they should stand up to be counted when fighting for the public good,” said Namu.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said the role of Kebs, NCPB, KNTC and NEMA in the fake fertiliser scandal needs to be probed further since it appears there was a well organised criminal enterprise leading to relevant state agencies not raising eyebrows.

“The organisation mentioned adversely by Africa Uncensored for making fake fertiliser has been carrying out its activities openly, the relevant state agencies should explain why they failed on their duties, heads must roll over this,” said Cherargei.

Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua said there must have been collusion between relevant state agencies and the unscrupulous individuals involved, saying the current conspiracy runs deeper than can be seen and that they need to unravel the scandal.