Fertiliser scandal: Speaker Wetangula allows motion to impeach CS Linturi

When Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi appeared before the National Assembly Agriculture Committee over the fake fertiliser at Parliament on April 8, 2024. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula has approved a Motion seeking to impeach Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi over gross violations of the constitution. Wetang’ula said that the Motion, tabled by Bumula MP Wanami Wamboka, had the requisite threshold as 110 members were in support of the motion.

“The motion meets the appropriate requirements of standing orders and Article 12 of the constitution for it to be admitted to the next step,” the speaker told the MPs.

Further in his announcement, Wetang’ula said in the Motion, the CS is being accused of gross violation of Article 10 of the constitution, which requires the observation of good governance, transparency, and accountability. Linturi is accused of knowingly supplying fake fertilizer, resulting in a significant loss in food productivity in the country.

“The sale of the fake fertilizer and authorization by the cabinet secretary for the National Cereals and Produce Board for the use of the facilities by private individuals is a breach of duty by the CS,” the Motion reads in part.

It adds, “Therefore, the cabinet secretary appears to have knowingly supplied the fake fertilizers to Kenyan farmers through NCPB.”

The CS is also in trouble for failing to be accountable in his performance in the agriculture docket and is accused of not being open about the matter that has affected hundreds of farmers throughout the country.

Linturi is also facing accusations of allowing the cereals board to be used by private entities to convey fake fertilizer to the public.

“The conduct of the cabinet secretary in which he submitted to the departmental committee on agriculture that NCPB signed an agency agreement with 51 Capital Africa Diatomite Industries for the supply and distribution of GPC diatomaceous for its commercial function and that the product was not sold as a chemical fertilizer but a soil conditioner,” Wetang’ula read.

Linturi also risks being sacked for getting into a public spat with journalists who unearthed the distribution of fake fertilizer and storming into a manufacturing plant and purporting to be revoking licenses without conducting investigations.

The house is now expected to debate on the motion this Thursday before they determine his fate as Wamboka was expected to give notice of the approved motion by yesterday afternoon.

The house will have until Tuesday next week to have disposed of the motion.

“Honorable members, from the foregoing, you will agree with me that once the member for Bumula gives the notice of motion, the stage shall be set for the house to commence the consideration of the motion,” Wetang’ula said.

However, if the house doesn’t adhere to the timelines, then the motion shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi chats with Chandrabhan Chimurkar, the General Manager KEL Chemicals Ltd. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

If the motion is supported by at least one-third of the members of the National Assembly, Parliament shall appoint a select committee comprising eleven of its members to investigate the matter. 

The select committee will, within 10 days, report to the National Assembly whether it finds the allegations against the CS to be substantiated. The CS will then appear in Parliament to be heard by the select committee.

In the event the select committee finds any of the allegations against the CS unsubstantiated, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of that allegation.

If the allegations are substantiated, the CS will be allowed to present his case. However, if a resolution is supported by a majority of the MPs, the Speaker shall deliver the resolution to the President, and the President shall dismiss the CS.

Linturi has been on the receiving end since an expose was unleashed that fake subsidized fertiliser was circulating in the market.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director Esther Ngari had told parliament that counterfeit fertilizer was being sold to farmers by NCPB during the busy planting season with maize farmers in the North Rift and Western Region, now worried that this may lead to poor production resulting in further food insecurity in the country.