NAIROBI, July 19 – Acting Finance Minister John Michuki can execute all functions at the Treasury, after all.,
Treasury Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua said on Friday that once a minister takes up a Cabinet appointment from the President, he is mandated to execute all the responsibilities that come with the position.
“If he were told, just verbally, to look at the affairs of the ministry because the Minister is not there then he cannot take any action because his not properly appointed,” Kinyua explained. “But in Michuki’s case he has been authorised to take care of the affairs until the President decides to either confirm him or find someone else.”
Immediately after Minister Michuki’s appointment in an acting capacity, legal experts had raised concern that there was no special gazette notice to legalise the appointment.
Lands Minister James Orengo had implied that Michuki couldn’t sign government contracts with donor agencies.
“A minister for finance normally has certain obligations in law; he enters into contract on behalf of the Kenyan government which has financial implications and there needs to be a legal instrument that shows that he can act on behalf of Treasury,” Orengo argued
According to Orengo, unless this legal instrument was in place, Michuki lacked the full mandate to carry out the duties of a finance minister.
However the PS was insistent that the President was the appointing authority and once the candidate accepts the appointment he/she becomes fully mandated to carry out his/her roles.
“Even when the President appoints ministers he never has to issue a gazette notice of the appointments,” Kinyua asserted.
The issue had also been raised in Parliament on Thursday, where MPs questioned whether Michuki could answer questions while serving in an acting capacity.
However Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled that according to the standing orders, any minister is allowed to answer questions raised in the House.