NCPB managers suspended in probe as govt picks acting CEO
The government has said 59 staff in five critical silos owned by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) are being investigated for various malpractices.
Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe Monday also announced the suspension of Lake, Western, North and South Rift regional managers over operations at the board.
The PS picked Albin Sang to replace Newton Terer as the board’s chief executive in an acting capacity for three months.
The investigations will establish how subsidised fertiliser was diverted from the board and how unscrupulous traders filled depots with imported maize, contributing to a crisis that has left farmers unpaid, he said.
He cited reported cases of lack of delivery to farmers, inefficient distribution and penetration by cartels in collusion with some staff.
“You are also aware that procurement of maize by the board has been characterised by malpractices such as poor identification of genuine farmers and deliveries by merchants and brokers whose source of grain was not authenticated,” Mr Lesiyampe said.
The PS said a recent forensic audit has revealed laxity and operational negligence at NCPB.
In the malpractices reported at the board, 10,000 bags of subsidised fertiliser are said to have been repackaged by unscrupulous traders and sold to farmers at higher prices.
Mr Lesiyampe said some 3,200 farmers have been paid by the board and an additional 700 will receive payments by this week.
NCPB officials are concerned that some of their suppliers are traders and not farmers.