Parliament has ordered a forensic audit into the expenditure of Sh15 billion that was spent on the procurement of subsidised fertiliser.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has given Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu 30 days to comb through the expenditure and table a report after the committee said it has received information about possible fraud, kickbacks, money laundering and corruption in the procurement of the crucial planting material.
The House in March approved an allocation of Sh15 billion in the Supplementary Budget for 2022/23 to the Ministry of Agriculture for the purchase of subsidized fertilizer.
“As PAC, we have resolved unanimously to sanction a forensic audit into the procurement and distribution of fertiliser subsidy after emerging cases of possible corruption, embezzlement and fraudulent activities in the procurement of the fertiliser,” said nominated MP John Mbadi, who chairs the committee.
“Within 30 days, the auditor-general should table its findings before we commence a public inquiry into a possible fertiliser scandal. We will thereafter conduct an open inquiry starting with the Ministry of Lands that received the money. If the funds were channelled to other agencies such as NCPB and the KNTC, all officers involved will be invited to shed light on this procurement.”
The subsidised fertiliser is being sold at a maximum price of Sh3,500 per 50-kilogramme bag, with the government looking to lower the high cost of production that was incurred by farmers last year when the planting material fetched Sh6,000 per 50-kilogramme bag.
The government settled on the KNTC to procure and sell fertiliser to farmers, a role that was previously played by NCPB, which would then bill the Treasury for services rendered.