Fertiliser scam: Boni Khalwale tells President Ruto to fire Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi

Mithika Linturi
Dennis Onsongo| NMG
Photo credit: File

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has asked President William Ruto to crack the whip on those involved in the supply of fake subsidised fertiliser to prove his commitment to fighting corruption.

The counterfeit fertiliser has been distributed in Kenya under the guise of 'government-subsidised fertiliser', leaving farmers counting their losses after buying the input.

Dr Khalwale wondered why the government was taking so long to take action against the people who sabotaged the President's food security plans when the procurement channels could be followed to get the culprits. He asked the President to sack Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi.

"Let President Ruto prove to Kenyans that he is serious about fighting graft by sacking Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi and arresting all those involved in the fake fertiliser scandal," said Dr Khalwale.

He added: "We also demand compensation for every farmer who was swindled out of their hard-earned money by the government officials. It is sad when government officials who are charged with the responsibility of serving Kenyans turn around and steal from them.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has said that farmers who bought the fake fertiliser will be compensated with top dressing to address nutrient deficiencies on their farms.

The Senate summoned CS Linturi, his Trade counterpart Rebecca Miano and officials from the National Cereal and Produce Board, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the National Environment Management Authority and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to explain why adulterated fertiliser was being distributed at government depots.

Farmers given fake fertilisers must be compensated: President Ruto

The committee, chaired by Mr Kamau Murango, cautioned that the supply of fake farm inputs to farmers was tantamount to economic sabotage or terrorism and that all perpetrators should be brought to book to face the full wrath of the law.

Dr Khalwale said when Kenyans went to the polls on August 9, 2022, they intended to elect leaders who would serve them diligently to improve their lives.

"Kenyans did not know that they were voting for conmen and thieves who would rob the old women who toil on their farms for food to survive by selling them stones instead of fertiliser. Let our good president exonerate himself by taking stern action against the perpetrators," he stressed.

The outspoken senator also wants action taken against Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa over the supply of fake fertiliser in the county.

He said a total of Sh703 million was allocated by the county assembly to procure the input, which turned out to be a fraud.

"I raised the alarm that saw officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Kakamega County impound 700 bags of fake fertiliser from a depot in Malava. Several other cases were reported from Ikolomani, Navakholo and other parts of the county. But this scandal seems to have been swept under the carpet. We are watching and we will not keep quiet," he said.

But Kakamega Agriculture Executive Committee Member Benjamin Andama insisted that no fake fertiliser was being supplied in the county.

"We conducted investigations through research institutions and found that the fertiliser supplied to our farmers was genuine," Mr Andama said.

He said the narrative of fake fertiliser in the county was a scheme by political opponents of Governor Fernandes Barasa to sabotage the implementation of his election promises.