14 May 2019

Kenya: Governors and Senators Set for Clash Over Audit Summons

Governors and senators are headed for a showdown this week after the legislators dared the county bosses to skip summonses over the 2017/2018 audit queries.

The Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee (SPAIC) had on Sunday warned governors against absconding summonses to establish how counties spent their funds.

The push-and-pull between governors and senators is likely to widen the rift between the two groups as they flex their political muscles.

DIRE CONSEQUENCES

SPAIC chairman Moses Kajwang' warned that governors who will skip the summonses will suffer dire consequences.

But he did not mention the kind of action the Senate will take against absconding governors.

"Failure to appear before the committee without reasonable cause shall attract the consequences spelt out in Section 19 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act," Mr Kajwang' told governors.

The Council of Governors (CoG) advised its members to boycott the summonses over claims that the report from the Office of the Auditor-General had several errors, including claims that counties spent funds in national government projects.

INVESTIGATIONS

CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya told county bosses not to honour the summons until investigations are conducted to establish the truth behind the errors in the financials reports.

The Kakamega governor argued that the Treasury admitted that the budget execution reports for the counties in question had erroneous descriptions reflecting national government programmes.

Some of the counties being investigated are Kakamega, Kwale, Lamu, Nyamira and Samburu.

But the SPAIC argued that the said errors would not deter their agenda to task governors to tell Kenyans how public funds were utilised.

"Any party with reservations on the Auditor-General's report has the opportunity to address these before the Senate or relevant county assembly and not in churches and media briefings," he said.

Mr Kajwang' wondered why governors were asking the Senate to approve an increase in funds allocation to counties but refusing to be supervised over expenditure.

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