The Ministry of Health is unable to account for Ksh1.6 billion of Ksh4 billion used to import maize during the 2017 food shortage, it has emerged.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee yesterday, Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga revealed that the government could only account for Ksh2,483,120,00 used in the imports.
An Auditor General’s report shows that the missing Ksh1.6 billion was paid to Export Trading (Ksh1,072,000), Hydrey (P) Ltd (Ksh1,000,000,000), Export Trading (Ksh1,114,00), Mombasa Maize Millers (Ksh609,000,000) and Export Trading (Ksh1,400,000). The Ministry however lacks documentation for the payments.
“After going through our cash books, bank statements and IFMIS system we cannot see any payments made,” Mboga said.
According to Mboga, at least 36 companies imported and sold maize to the government. The companies, most o f were millers, bought the maize at a cheaper price.
The government paid up to Ksh3,600 for a 90kg bag of maize but later sold it to local millers at Ksh2,300.
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri who had been summoned asked for a different date, while former Agriculture CS Willy Bett and former PS Richard Lesiyampe failed to show up completely.
According to a 2018 Ad-hoc Senate Committee on the maize crisis, the government imported 1,398,094.58 metric tonnes of duty-free white maize from Mexico among many other non EAC/COMESA countries.
“Indeed these duty free imports led to a loss of revenue of up to Ksh13,405,241,241 at a time when the country was in dire need for resources,” the committee noted.