, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – CORD leader Raila Odinga has indefinitely postponed his much anticipated appearance before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) where he was expected to shed more light on his Eurobond claims.
PAC chairman Nicholas Gumbo says the former Prime Minister who was expected before the committee next Monday, wrote to the National Assembly Clerk Justin Bundi saying he will only appear after the Auditor General presents his special audit that addresses the Eurobond issue.
The committee last year directed the Auditor-General to conduct a forensic audit on the use of Eurobond proceeds following allegations by Opposition leaders that the government could not account for Sh140 billion.
Gumbo said they expect to receive forensic audit reports on Eurobond before the end of this month.
“I have been instructed to inform you that the question being raised by the former Prime Minister involves the accounts of the past financial year 2014/15. It has also come to his knowledge that the PAC has ordered for a special audit with regard to this matter. It will be important to allow the auditor finalise this audit and forward the report to the committee for us to have a more fulfilling engagement. In this regard, he will be unable to appear on January 25. His appearance when the committee is looking into 2013/14 Financial Year will not help it address the Eurobond issue,” read the letter signed by Odinga’s Chief of Staff Andrew Mondoh.
“I will be getting in touch with you to fix a date that is convenient for the Right Honourable Raila Odinga.”
Odinga had requested to appear before the PAC to shed more light on the spending of the Sh250 billion Eurobond.
In response, Jubilee Coalition MPs Jackson Rop (Kipkelion West), Julius Melly (Tinderet), Kanini Kega (Kieni), Joel Onyancha (Bonchari) who are also members of the PAC, dismissed the reasons given by Odinga for his decision not to appear before the committee, saying he is taking Parliament for granted.
The MPs maintained the government stand that Odinga does not have any evidence adding that he had “chickened out for fear of serious grilling by the committee.”
“If for sure he has evidence he should bring it before us, or better yet he should take it to the Auditor General, why wait until the audit is completed where as he claims that he has evidence that money did not come to Kenya.” Kega said.
“I am sure the PM knows he made a mistake that is why he is making a retreating, we have no problem with any Kenyan who has information on the Eurobond,” Onyancha added.
Melly said Odinga might have developed cold feet because the committee will require him to give his information under oath, failure of which it will dismiss him.
Rop, who is the committee vice-chairman faulted the former PM’s reasons saying the Eurobond matter was flagged by the Auditor General as an unqualified opinion in the his 2013/14 financial year audit report.
He said the team wants the information Odinga will present to be truthful without introducing politics into the matter.
ODM MPs in the committee led by Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), Abdikadir Aden (Balambala) and Alice Chae (Nyamira County) came to the defence of their party leader saying that the committee should not be seen as vilifying him for blowing the whistle on the matter.
“We need to take this work we are doing for the country seriously, it is us the leaders who may distort the whole process and cost the country a lot, and I am making reference to a colleague of ours, the Leader of Majority, he speaks for the government; there is need to be more careful, more appropriate, more meaningful when he is communicating the government stand out there. There is no need to be reckless on such an important matter,” Bosire said.
Gumbo sought to calm temperatures by reminding members that the committee is charged with over sighting the expenditure of public resources.
“”If we turned this thing into a charade, where Kenyans will be left asking what was it all about, we as members of PAC must be honest with ourselves, Kenyan would be a middle income economy if it were not for the effects of Goldenberg.”
“The last thing we want is that 15 years from now like Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg, Eurobond will still be a matter, if we can sort the Eurobond issue by the end of this year and everybody feels it has been sorted members of this committee will go down in history as heroes.” Gumbo told PAC members.