Ruto denies role in maize scandal


By Standard Team

Agriculture Minister William Ruto says he would only take responsibility for the maize scam if others do so.

"I have no problem taking responsibility if others take theirs. I do not distribute responsibilities in Government," Mr Ruto said, yesterday.

The minister, however, would not answer questions at to whether he would resign as the man under whose ministry the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCBP) falls.

At the same time, Ruto insisted he had not signed any papers instructing the NCBP to give maize to a disabled person.

"I only instructed my personal assistant to write a letter to allow the disabled person get maize. Unfortunately, the person did not get the maize," Ruto said at his office. He said the Strategic Grain Reserve does not fall under his ministry.

Grain reserve

"Those looking for those responsible for the Strategic Grain Reserve should know there is a ministry for that," Ruto said, alluding to the Special Programmes ministry headed by Dr Naomi Shaban.

And three MPs want Prime Minister Raila Odinga to resign over what they called ‘his failure to supervise and coordinate government ministries’ as well as the maize scandal.

Led by Nominated MP George Nyamweya, the MPs asked the PM to lead by example by stepping aside.

"The PM said he would lead by example. The maize scandal, which threatened the lives of Kenyans, now touches on his own office," said Mr Nyamweya.

The MP also enumerated nine ministries where they said have been ineffectively run under the PM’s watch, saying he needs to step aside for his failures to supervise ministries.

He claimed the PM’s failure was manifest in the Sh10 billion computer error in the Ministry of Finance, withholding of census results, the Triton and the Grand (now Laico) Regency Hotel saga.

"If the above escaped his supervision, he should step aside for failure to co-ordinate ministries," said Nyamweya. He was accompanied by Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau and Kitutu Masaba’s Walter Nyambati at Parliament Buildings.

Meanwhile, Transparency International and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights have called for the resignation of ministers and senior officials implicated in corruption. TI Executive Director Job Ogonda and KNCHR Vice-Chairman Hassan Omar claimed there are more than 20 ministers and PSs implicated in corruption serving in Government. They called on President Kibaki and the Prime Minister to prevail upon such officials to step aside.

Separately, four MPs called for the prosecution of officials implicated in the maize scandal.

"Kenyans are eager to see what action would be taken on the officials," said Kibwezi MP Philip Kaloki.

Yesterday, Kaloki, Itwiku Mbai (Masinga) and Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) said the maize scandal led to the loss of billions of taxpayers’ money.

Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale said the report had shown his censure Motion against Agriculture Minister William Ruto over the maize scam was not driven by malice.

Report by Athman Amran, Mutinda Mwanzia, Peter Opiyo and Isaiah Luheli

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