Kenya: Senators Warn Governors Against Sending Representatives When Invited to Account for Covid-19 Funds

Nairobi — The Senate Heath Committee has warned governors against sending their County Executive Committee Members (CECs) to represent them when they are invited to shed light on how COVID-19 funds disbursed to their counties were utilized.

This is after Murang'a governor Mwangi Wa Iria failed to appear before the Committee on Monday and instead sent County Health CEC.

Led by Kisumu Senator Fred Outa and his Murang'a counterpart Irungu Kang'ata, the senators want those who fail to appear be issued with summons.

"If we take this direction that we have seen from Governors, then we are starting on a wrong foot and it will be in order to provoke our standing orders to summon Murang'a governor," Outa said.

Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina urged governors and especially second-term governors to respect the oversight role entrusted to the Senate and be accountable for the funds given to them.

"We are doing oversight and if you are invited to shed light on misappropriation of funds in your county and you fail to appear, remember these are matters that can follow you even in your retirement," Kina said.

A report by Auditor General indicted county governments misused COVID-19 funds after receiving over Sh13.8 billion for COVID-19 related expenditures.

Special audit reports revealed that counties bypassed the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) in procuring supplies.

After, a back and forth deliberation between the committee members, Chairperson Senator Michael Mbito (Sen. Trans Nzoia) adjourned the meeting and invited Wa Iria to appear on Wednesday failure to which a stern decision will be made.

"We will not go the summon way today but I will reschedule this meeting and invite Murang'a governor to appear on Wednesday. If he does not then this committee will make a decision on the way forward," Mbito ruled.

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