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Firms behind maize import

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Nairobi-based billionaire Naushad Merali is linked to the firm that imported the maize that arrived in Mombasa on Thursday.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett yesterday said Holbud Limited imported 29,900 tonnes of maize, from Mexico. “I have looked at the manifest of the ship and I have been told that the importer is Holbud,” Mr Bett told reporters outside the Grain Bulk Handlers terminal, where the maize was to be received.

The Government has said an additional 30,000 tonnes of maize was expected in two weeks as part of measures to reduce the price of maize flour.

However, it is not clear who the importers of this second consignment are. The total consignment, which is worth about Sh3 billion, is expected to bring down runaway retail maize prices.

Holbud, a United Kingdom company, was at one time awarded a controversial Sh6 billion tender to supply fertiliser on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Members of the National Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture demanded to see Mr Merali during investigations involving the 21,000 tonnes of fertiliser delivered by Holbud.

The committee later cleared the deal and dismissed the quality concerns raised by Kenya Bureau of Standards with a caution that the State should only restrict periods for such large tenders to one-year rather than the three-years given to Holbud Ltd.

By Moses Michira |
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