House team calls for action in Sh485m fertiliser tender scam

Monday, December 2nd, 2019 00:00 |
Fertiliser. Photo/Courtesy

Members of Parliament want the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to prosecute individuals who were involved in the procurement of both subsidised fertiliser and gunny bags worth Sh485.5 million in the 2016/17 financial year.

Out of the money, Sh45.4 million is in respect to expenditure incurred in the purchase of subsidised fertiliser and Sh440 million was used to purchase gunny bags.

The legislators made the decision as they revealed that they could not confirm whether the government actually imported maize valued at Sh11.7 billion after the accounting officer failed to avail to legislators all the documentation in support of the purported import.

 “The committee shall re-open interrogation of the matter to its depth in order to arrive at a logical determination during review of the audited report of the financial year 2017/18 beginning January 2020,” reads a report of the committee.

With respect to the subsidised fertiliser, the committee observed that a company contracted to deliver 182,000 bags of various types of fertiliser each weighing 50kg during the short rains, at a cost of Sh456.7 million did not deliver 17,060 bags costing Sh45.4 million in the period under review. 

The committee regretted that the despite the company being paid in full before delivery of the fertiliser, they did not deliver the fertiliser as required.

“The ODPP should, within three months of adoption of this report, take up the matter with a view to prosecuting all those involved in the payment of Sh45,423,103 for undelivered 17,060 bags of various types of fertiliser each weighing 50 kilos during the short rains for subsidised fertiliser to farmers by the government with a view to prosecuting those found culpable,” reads the report.

Found culpable

The recommendations of the committee came after the auditor general in a report to Parliament raised concerns over the expenditure saying a review of records availed for audit revealed that the company contracted to deliver 182,000 bags of various types of fertiliser did not deliver part of the fertiliser despite it being paid in full.

On gunny bags the MPs who sit in the Public Accounts committee chaired by Opiyo Wandayi recommended that DPP Noordin Haji prosecutes members of the tender committee who took part in the procurement of 3.2 million gunny bags where breaches of law were established.

The decision of the committee comes after it emerged that National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) used restricted tender instead of open tender to award tenders that saw out of six tenders flouted and only one company emerging as the winner.

Restricted tender

In the tender, the State Department for Agriculture procured B-twill jute bags for bagging maize amounting to Sh2.7 million through open tender, 400,000 pieces of branded woven polypropylene bags (50kg) through restricted tender and the remaining four procurement of branded woven polypropylene bags (50kg) were done through request for quotation. 

But in its report, the committee observed that failure to float one tender for procurement of gunny bags exhibited unpreparedness and poor planning by the State department that led to procurement of the same item at different prices.

“The matter is referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider prosecuting members of the tender committee where breaches of law are established,” reads the report.

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