- The government of Kenya has today kicked out 14 officials at the state-run National Cereal Board amid an investigation into corruption in the country's grain industry. The officials' dismissal comes after the government hired Deloitte & Touche in October to conduct an audit of the board.
Agriculture Minister William Ruto said the board managers have been sent home and four new members of the board have been named. The new members come into office when Sh825 million (US$10.3 million) maize scandal probe is ongoing.
"The new structure will facilitate transparent, efficient and professional delivery on the mandate assigned on the NCPB in conformity with the liberalised market," said Mr Ruto.
According to the minister, 12 managers and two general managers have been fired. The minister added that two current general managers have been sent on terminal leave and their positions will be advertised for competitive replacement.
He, however cautioned that the move does not absolve any of the officials from corruption allegations. He added that action will be taken against any official found guilty in the ongoing investigations.
Local newspaper reports said investigations indicate that close to a billion shillings ($12.6 million) has been lost through corrupt activities in the maize sector. Reports further further pointed out that more than 100,000 bags of maize cannot be accounted for, at the strategic grain reserves manned by the NCPB.
Kenya launched an emergency appeal early this month amid an acute food crisis in the country, with over 10 million people said to be facing starvation.
Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa's fifth-largest corn producer, only has enough corn to last until February, after poor rainfall and post-election violence in the first two months of 2008.
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