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Ruto fails to ‘convince’ House team

By | February 18th 2009

By Peter Opiyo

The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture was not convinced with explanations given by Agriculture Minister William Ruto over the maize scam.

MPs did not understand the sudden surge of brokers, some of whom the committee claimed, were briefcase millers, buying maize from National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

"The committee is determined to get to the bottom of the matter," said a source. Consequently, Ruto would be summoned again for further grilling. But the committee headed by Naivasha MP, John Mututho would first visit the Grain Bulk Handling facility at the port of Mombasa to find out the number of bags imported.

A source close to the committee said Ruto’s argument that ‘when a commodity is scarce more people get interested’, did not convince the Committee when he appeared for grilling on Monday.

Though Ruto conceded it was ‘morally wrong’ for NCPB to sell maize at Sh2,800 a bag instead of the recommend Sh1,750, he did not openly admit middlemen were involved.

It is understood the committee was furious as to why middlemen were involved in the maize sale yet the food crisis had been declared a national disaster.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has formed a committee to investigate the scam and report back to him by next week.

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