Kenya: Nakuru Suppliers of Bad Maize 'Will Still Get Pay'

23 September 2020

Traders who supplied bad maize with high levels of aflatoxin in Nakuru county will be paid as no sample was taken to the Government Chemist for testing.

The revelation came during the interrogation of Disaster Chief Officer Ann Njenga by a county assembly committee on Tuesday.

However, Ms Njenga clarified that only two wards out of the 55 were affected.

"Going to tell a supplier now that the maize he or she supplied had aflatoxin and it was not examined by the Government Chemist is difficult right now," she said.

Hard time answering

She added that, most of the food in Viwandani stores had a 10 per cent aflatoxin level, which is acceptable. However, other bags had a 19 per cent level of aflatoxin, but had already been distributed to residents.

Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja claimed a person died in the sprawling Kaptembwo neighbourhood of Nakuru town after consuming the bad maize.

However, Ms Njenga, who had a hard time answering questions from the ward reps said, "I'm not aware of any death during the food distribution."

The MCAs faulted Ms Njenga for giving the committee "half-baked" information. For instance, she said that out of the Sh25 million the assembly allocated, 10 per cent went to logistics.

However, when pressed to give a breakdown of the logistics costs, she failed to give the answers.

"We need to know which logistics costs were paid for and by how much in the next meeting," Minority leader and Olkaria MCA Peter Palanga said.

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Rhonda MCA Timothy Kabutu said procurement was flawed as no advertisement was made in the local dailies as required by law.

The committee said that, Ms Njenga was not fully in charge of the Covid-19 food distribution, leading to the confusion in the process.

As a result, Mr Karanja, the Naivasha East MCA, said, "some of the produce was given to other beneficiaries such as internally displaced persons (IDPs), who were not identified by the ward committees."

"Everybody wanted to have a [piece of] pie, and chief officers in the Education and Youth dockets interfered with the exercise."

However, Ms Njenga defended the food distribution saying that apart from a few challenges, it was "transparent" and "a success".

The committee was also concerned that the ward level committees had not been paid their allowances. Ms Njenga told the MCAs that, payment had been made in 20 wards. She blamed poor data entry, which was being corrected, for delays.

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