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Eldoret Lawyer opposes withdrawal of funds from Food Reserve Kitty

Lawyer Simon Lilan addressing the Press in Eldoret on July 22, 2019. Photo by KNA.

An  Eldoret based advocate has threatened to move to court to institute private criminal proceedings against Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi  Kiunjuri and other government officials involved in the illegal withdrawal of  Sh.1.8billion from the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) fund.

The  advocate, Simon Lilan issued a seven day notice to the Director of Public Prosecution, the Director Criminal Investigations, DCI, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, EACC and the Inspector of Police, IG to investigate and prosecute  the CS, the Principal  Secretary in the ministry, Prof. Hamadi  Boga and other officers who facilitated the withdrawal of the funds contrary to the SFR regulations.

“The Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge should also be prosecuted for allowing the withdrawal of the SFR funds without the necessary documentation of the SFR advisory board authorizing payment, which amounts to criminal neglect,” said Lilan during a press briefing in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County Monday.

“I will move to court within seven days to compel the people jointly and severally to do what they ought to have done in regard to the withdrawal of SFR fund by unauthorized persons without the consent of the SFR board,” said Lilan.

Lilan  said he had already written to the DCI, DPP, EACC and the IG to take action over the withdrawal that contravened the law as provided for by the finance management on strategic food reserve amendment regulation of 2015.

The  CS  and his people made the withdrawal to pay off 2017 debts without the resolution of the oversight board contrary to regulations 14(I) and (II) as well as regulation 5(1)(C), said the advocate.

He also urged relevant arms of government to move with speed and freeze the accounts where the funds were illegality transferred to, “The withdrawal defeats the purpose for which the fund was established which was to ensure sufficient food in our grains reserves for all Kenyans at all times,” he added.

Last  week a section of political leaders from the North Rift region led by Cherangany MP, Joshua Kutuny also raised concern that the Sh. 1.8 billion was irregularly withdrawn from the account of the Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund at the Central Bank of Kenya to pay a company associated with maize importation cartels in the country.

They said the money was withdrawn and wired to the company trading as Commodities House without the approval of the board.

By  Kiptanui  Cherono

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