Kenya: MPs Want Audit of Miraa Support Cash

The Ministry of Agriculture is on the spot over spending of money allocated towards the miraa infrastructure support project.

The parliamentary departmental committee on agriculture led by Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru called for a probe into the expenditure on miraa market sheds, boreholes and saccos.

She was accompanied by Machakos Woman representative Joyce Kamene, Kabuchai MP Joseph Kalasinga and Igembe South MP JohnPaul Mwirigi.

The committee which is on a two-day visit of miraa growing zones to get views on a public petition presented by Igembe South MP JohnPaul Mwirigi raised concern over utilisation of Sh1billion for miraa revitalisation as well as delays by government to unlock the Somalia diplomatic row that led to loss of market.

Mr Joseph Kobia, a resident of Athiru Gaiti, said miraa traders did not get value for money in the construction of the sheds in Igembe South.

"The shed which was constructed at Athiru Gaiti is too small yet it is said to have cost Sh7.2 million. The project should be investigated," Mr Kobia said.

An AFA official, Nicodemus Mwanga, who spoke at the meeting said the ministry spent about Sh42 million on 10 boreholes and six sheds in Igembe South.

Machakos Woman Rep Joyce Kamene said Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya should be put to task over the construction of the sheds.

"I am surprised that despite Mr Munya telling this committee that he was on top of things on miraa issues yet the people are complaining. It is a shame that the sheds were shoddily done," Ms Kamene said.

Speaking after inspecting the Athiru Gaiti shed, Kabuchai MP Joseph Kalasinga said it was not worth Sh7 million.

"In my constituency, a classroom costs about Sh1 million. The structure we have seen cannot be worth Sh7 million as it is claimed. The contractor should be behind bars," Mr Kalasinga said.

Ms Waruguru, said the committee would recommend an investigation into the use of Sh1 billion miraa fund.

She also cited double taxation of miraa by county governments and lack of a dedicated office to handle the crop.

The ministry of agriculture has also been at loggerheads with Nyambene Miraa Traders Association over utilisation of money meant for lending to farmers.

The government gave Sh122 million to Mwenge Miraa Sacco in Meru while Sh48 million went to Muguka Saccos in Embu.

In 2019, Meru was allocated Sh270 million towards the construction of miraa market sheds and provision of water while Embu and Tharaka-Nithi got Sh167 million and Sh42 million respectively.

In Embu, the government through Miraa Infrastructure Support Project has established five earth dams, two boreholes and seven market sheds.

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