The Star (Nairobi)

9 February 2013

Kenya: NCPB Risks Auction Over Sh500 Million Debt

The National Cereals and Produce Board risks having its assets sold over a disputed Sh500 million debt arising from a cancelled maize supply tender.

The dispute arose after a government decision in 2004 to purchase white maize to replenish the Strategic Grain Reserves. Consequently the board on behalf of the government contracted five firms to supply the maize among them Erad Supplies and Contractors Ltd which won a court case over the Sh500 million dispute.

"The firm was supply 40,000 metric tonnes but did not do so. The matter went to court and and we can not comment further on it. We have faith in country's legal system and believe just will prevail eventually", said NCPB managing director Misoi in a statement released on Friday.

Erad on the other hand maintains the contract was unfairly terminated.

He assured farmers that it has confidence in the court's ability to deliberate on the matter. Farmers in the North Rift Valley have protested against the planned sale proposes sale.

The Kenya Farmers Association through director Kipkorir Menjo appealed to the government to intervene and save the public assets from being sold saying this would inconvenience farmers.

"We have asked the government to intervene and look into ways of sorting out the debt disputes at NCPB because the problem will affect operations of the board which is supposed to be preparing for this year's planting season," said Menjo.

The farmers who me tin Eldoret said the board should be supported to import adequate fertiliser for this planting season instead of being embroiled in long running debt disputes.

Auctioneers this week advertised the planned sale of cars, buildings and other NCPB assets in a bid to recover the debt.

The board has appealed High Court the ruling which granted Erad the award.

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